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Patriots name Dean Pees linebackers coach; Pepper Johnson to coach defensive line

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. - The New England Patriots announced the hiring of Dean Pees as linebackers coach today. Pepper Johnson, who had served as the team's inside linebackers coach since 2001 and was the assistant linebackers coach in 2000, will coach the defensive line.

"We are pleased to welcome Dean Pees to our coaching staff," Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick said. "He brings a wealth of experience from his extensive background, specifically on the defensive side of the ball."

Pees joins Coach Belichick's staff after spending 24 years in college football, including the last six seasons as the head coach at Kent State. The Dunkirk, Ohio, native has spent seven seasons as a defensive coordinator - three seasons at Michigan State (1995-97) and four seasons at the University of Toledo (1990-93). In addition, he worked with middle linebackers while he was the defensive coordinator at Michigan State, before landing his first head-coaching job at Kent State on Dec. 17, 1997.

Pees inherited a Kent State program that had won just 13 games in the nine seasons prior to his becoming the head coach. Once his system was implemented, the Golden Flashes showed a significant improvement, winning 14 games in the last three seasons (more than the school's victory total in the previous decade), including a 6-5 record in 2001 that represented the school's best record in 14 years.

Before his tenure at Kent State, Pees served as the defensive coordinator at Michigan State on head coach Nick Saban's staff from 1995-97. The Spartans appeared in three bowl games in Pees' four seasons in East Lansing and finished with the 13th-ranked overall defense in the nation in his final season there. In addition to his responsibilities as the coordinator, Pees also worked with the Spartans' middle linebackers.

Pees has also served as the secondary coach at Notre Dame (1994), the defensive coordinator for the University of Toledo (1990-93) and the secondary coach for the Naval Academy (1987-89). He began his coaching career as the defensive coordinator/secondary coach for the University of Findlay (1979-82), then held the same title at Miami (Ohio) University (1983-86).

Pees is a graduate of Bowling Green State University.

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