FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - The New England Patriots announced that they have named Dean Pees as the team's defensive coordinator today. Pees, who served as New England's linebackers coach for the past two seasons (2004-05), will fill the role previously held by Eric Mangini, who has accepted the head coaching responsibilities with the New York Jets.
"Dean Pees has done an outstanding job coaching our linebackers," said Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick. "When he joined us, Dean brought a wealth of experience into this system and has been a significant part of our success over the past two seasons."
Pees, 56, has 33 years of coaching experience, including 15 seasons as a defensive coordinator and six seasons as a head coach at the collegiate level. He joined Bill Belichick's staff in New England in 2004 and mentored a linebacking corps that produced three of the team's top four tacklers on a defense that ranked ninth overall and sixth in the league against the run in 2004. His unit was also credited with 27.5 sacks that season, led by the 9.5 of Willie McGinest. The Patriots won 17 of 19 games in 2004 and won their second consecutive Super Bowl title. In 2005, Mike Vrabel transitioned from outside linebacker to inside linebacker and finished with a career-high and team-leading 114 tackles, including 4.5 sacks. As a unit, the defense jelled late in the season and finished eighth in the league against the run.
"I am very appreciative and grateful for the opportunity that Coach Belichick, Mr. Kraft and the entire Patriots organization have given me," said Pees. "I am extremely proud to be part of a first-class organization from top to bottom. I will work hard to continue the standard of excellence that is expected as a New England Patriot."
Prior to joining the Patriots, Pees spent six seasons as the head coach at Kent State (1998-03). From 1995-97, Pees was the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach on Nick Saban's staff at Michigan State. The Spartans qualified for a post-season bowl game following each of his three seasons at Michigan State, and in 1997 the defense finished the season ranked 13th in the nation.
The Dunkirk, Ohio native began his coaching career in 1973 at Elmwood High School in Ohio. In 1979, he was named defensive coordinator and secondary coach at the collegiate level. His career then took him to Miami of Ohio (1983-86), the Naval Academy (1987-89), Toledo (1990-93) and Notre Dame (1994) before Saban hired him at Michigan State in 1995.
After the Jets formally announced the hiring of Eric Mangini as their new head coach, Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick offered the following comments:
"For over a decade, I had the pleasure of working with Eric Mangini, who is an outstanding coach and an even finer individual. I will always appreciate Eric's contributions. I value our friendship and look forward to supporting Eric's commitment to youth football in the future. Eric worked his way from the most entry-level position to a position of great responsibility during several successful seasons. The opportunity Eric has now earned is truly an example of good things happening to a good, hard-working person and I wish him well."