Matt Patricia, a 1996 graduate of RPI in Troy was named the head coach of the NFL’s Detroit Lions this afternoon, one day after losing the Super Bowl as the defensive coordinator for the New England Patriots.
Patricia played college football at RPI as an offensive lineman while earning a degree in Aeronautical Engineering from the school. For his four years of playing, he helped his class to an impressive 31-8 record over four seasons, and won three ECAC championships.
After that, Patricia began his coaching career at the school, serving as a graduate assistant during the 1996 season before getting a job as the defensive line coach at Division III Amherst, where he spent two seasons. After that, he was an offensive graduate assistant for three seasons at Syracuse.
He joined Bill Belichick’s staff in 2004 as an offensive assistant, and worked his way up through the assistant coach ranks before being named the team’s defensive coordinator in 2012. Over the course of his Patriots’ career, he won three Super Bowls; Super Bowl XXXIX for the 2004 season, Super Bowl XLIX for the 2014 season and Super Bowl LI for the 2016 season.
Patricia becomes the third RPI graduate to be a head coach at a sport’s highest level, both in the NHL. Kevin Constantine, who graduated in 1982, served as the head coach of the San Jose Sharks from 1993-96, the Pittsburgh Penguins from 1997-2000, and finally the New Jersey Devils from 2001-02. Also, Adam Oates, a 1985 graduate and Hockey Hall of Famer, served as the head coach of the Washington Capitals from 2012-14 and then was a co-head coach of the New Jersey Devils from 2014-15.
Patricia’s head coaching debut will come in September.