Detroit Lions hire New England Patriots' coordinator Matt Patricia as head coach
By LARRY LAGE
AP Sports Writer
DETROIT — The Detroit Lions hired Matt Patricia on Monday, doubling down on the franchise’s hope it can copy the New England Patriots’ formula for success.
The expected hiring of the defensive coordinator came a day after the Patriots lost to Philadelphia in the Super Bowl.
“This position comes with great responsibility, and I will commit every ounce of my energy to this football team, starting today,” Patricia said in a statement released by the team.
Lions general manager Bob Quinn made the move, reuniting with someone he worked with in New England for more than a decade.
“He has been preparing for this opportunity his entire career, and he’s ready for the responsibility and its challenges,” Quinn said.
The Lions plan to formally introduce him at a news conference Wednesday.
Quinn fired coach Jim Caldwell last month with a record eight games above .500 over four years and postseason appearances in 2014 and 2016. The Lions went 9-7 this season and missed the playoffs.
Patricia was the Patriots’ defensive coordinator for six seasons, ending with his unit giving up 41 points and 538 yards to the Eagles.
“Obviously, I didn’t do a good enough job here with the defense,” he told reporters Sunday night.
The 43-year-old Patricia was on Bill Belichick’s staff for 14 seasons, overlapping with Quinn for many years. Quinn was a part of the Patriots’ personnel department for 16 years before Detroit gave him his first shot to be an NFL GM.
He cuts a distinctive figure on the sideline, with a bushy beard, backward ball cap and a pencil above his right ear.
Patricia earned an aeronautical engineering degree at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, where he played center and guard, and later went to the University of Massachusetts to add a master’s degree in education to his resume.
Belichick hired Patricia in 2004 as a coaching assistant, was an assistant offensive line coach the next season and worked his way up, leading linebackers and safeties, before being promoted to defensive coordinator in 2012.
Patricia said he tries to learn something from everybody all the time, including Belichick.
“He’s been a remarkable mentor to me, not only as a football coach but also as a man and as a friend,” Patricia said. “I have learned immensely from his detailed leadership approach to the game, which has certainly shaped me into the football coach that I am today.”