One day after his team lost the Super Bowl, the Detroit Lions on Monday announced that Matt Patricia, the bearded defensive coordinator for the New England Patriots, is its new head coach.
"When we launched the search for our next head coach, I wanted to find a leader that could take us to the next level and I am confident we have found that in Matt Patricia," Lions Executive Vice President and General Manager Bob Quinn says in a statement. Quinn worked for New England in the pro-scouting department.
"Matt is driven to succeed, has extreme passion for the game and excels in preparation. He embodies the same hard-working, blue-collar attributes that represent our organization and the great City of Detroit."
It had been one of the worst-kept secrets in town that Patricia would become the next head coach, but the Lions had to wait until the season was over before making it official.
Patricia, 43, has 20 years of coaching experience in college and the pros, including the past 14 seasons with the Patriots, which has a first-rate organization. He spent the last six years as the team's defensive coordinator.
Raised in Sherrill, N.Y., Patricia attended Vernon-Verona-Sherrill Central School, where he lettered in football and wrestling. He graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, N.Y., with an aeronautical engineering degree and went earned a master's in education from the University of Massachusetts.
He is married and has two sons and a daughter.
In a statement published in the Boston Herald, he says:
"This position comes with great responsibility, and I will commit every ounce of my energy to this football team, starting today. My family is excited to become part of this wonderful city that displays so much passion for their teams.
"I can't express enough appreciation to the entire New England Patriots franchise, particularly Robert and Jonathan Kraft and their entire family. I will truly cherish these last 14 years as a member of this incredible organization.
"Lastly, I'd like to express my appreciation and thanks to Bill Belichick. He’s been a remarkable mentor to me, not only as a football coach but also as a man and as a friend. 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. Quite simply, I’ve been incredibly fortunate to work with, who I believe, is the greatest coach in NFL history."