DETROIT – (Wire Service Report) – Matt Patricia’s hiring as head coach of the Detroit Lions was made official on Monday after his time as the New England Patriots’ defensive coordinator came to an end Sunday night in the team’s Super Bowl loss to the Philadelphia Eagles.
“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 said in a statement. “He has been preparing for this opportunity his entire career, and he’s ready for the responsibility and its challenges.
“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.”
Patricia, 43, replaces Jim Caldwell, who was fired Jan. 1. Patricia has been a member of the New England coaching staff since 2004 and the team’s defensive coordinator for the last six seasons.
“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. “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.
“Now I turn all of my attention to the Lions. I look forward to the next chapter of my career in Detroit.”
This season, the Patriots’ defense ranked 29th in the NFL in yards allowed (366.0), but a much more impressive fifth in scoring defense (18.5 points a game). Only one of the Patriots’ final 12 opponents scored more than 24 points.
For the second season in a row, New England allowed just six rushing touchdowns, the league’s second-lowest total. Patricia’s 2016 defense finished as the No. 1 scoring defense in the NFL by allowing only 15.6 points per game.
Patricia originally joined the Patriots in 2004 as a coaching assistant and the next season he served as assistant offensive line coach. In 2006, Patricia shifted to the Patriots’ defensive staff, spending five seasons as the linebackers coach and one year coaching the safeties.
“We met with several very impressive candidates, but Matt really stood out in his interview and clearly became the best choice for this job,” Lions president Rod Wood said in a statement. “In addition to being an exceptional coach, Matt’s tremendous work ethic will resonate with our fans. He will be an outstanding representative of our football team, the Lions organization and our community.”