Dean Pees, a 37-year coaching veteran, was named the
defensive coordinator on Bill Belichick's staff on January 17,
2006. Pees served as the Patriots' linebackers coach from
2004-05 and his coaching credentials include six seasons
as a collegiate head coach and 15 seasons as a defensive
coordinator at the college level. Pees joined Belichick's staff
prior to the 2004 season after a tenure as the head coach
at Kent State.
The Patriots have averaged less than 20 points per
game allowed in every season that Pees has been defensive
coordinator. In 2008, the Patriots allowed 19.3 points per
game and achieved an 11-5 record despite using 22
different starters on defense, including four rookies. Pees'
2008 defense ranked second in the NFL in forced threeand-
out percentage (30.6) and helped give the offense the
second best average starting field position in the NFL.
In 2007, Pees' defense contributed to the first 16-0
regular season in NFL history. The Patriots defense allowed
274 points, marking the fourth time in the previous five
seasons (since 2003) that New England has allowed fewer
than 275 points in a season. The 2007 Patriots ranked fourth
in the league in yards allowed per game (288.3), the fewest
allowed by a Patriots defense in 28 years, and second in
the league in sacks (47). The Patriots defense sent three
starters to the Pro Bowl (LB Mike Vrabel, NT Vince Wilfork
and CB Asante Samuel).
In his first season as defensive coordinator in 2006, Pees'
defense set a franchise record for points allowed per game,
giving up an average of just 14.81 points per opponent as
the Patriots finished 12-4 and at the top of the AFC East. The
New England defense was fourth in the NFL in takeaways and
first in opponents' fourth down conversion percentage. The
Patriots defense was also second in the league in opponent
passer rating. Pees' defense steadily improved over the
course of the season, and remained in the NFL's top 10 in total
defense for the entire second half of the season. The Patriots
finished second in the league in points allowed in 2006.
In 2005, Pees tutored a Patriots linebackers unit
that featured three of the defense's top five tacklers and
accounted for 22 of the team's 33 sacks. Mike Vrabel
transitioned from outside linebacker to inside linebacker
during the season and paced the team with a career-high
114 tackles (80 solo), while Rosevelt Colvin's 73 tackles
(49 solo) marked the second highest total of his career and
placed fourth on the team. Tedy Bruschi, who missed the
first six games of the season while recovering from a stroke,
placed fifth on the team with 72 tackles (38 solo) despite
playing in just nine games.
The contributions of the linebackers in the second half
of the 2005 season were a key reason the Patriots were
able to clinch the AFC East title by recording six wins in a
seven-week span over the final two months of the season.
During the month of December the Patriots shut down the
run, allowing just 31.3 rushing yards per game. The effort
helped to produce four straight December wins, including
a 28-0 shutout over Tampa Bay on December 17 to claim the AFC East crown. Additionally, New England allowed just
10 total points over a three-game December span, marking
the fewest points allowed over any three games in team
Pees marked a solid first season in the NFL in 2004,
mentoring a linebackers unit that produced three of the
team's top four tacklers. The Patriots defense ranked sixth
in the NFL against the run, while New England linebackers
recorded 27.5 quarterback sacks. Tedy Bruschi finished
second on the team in tackles (128), and fellow starters
Ted Johnson (112) and Vrabel (76), finished third and fourth,
respectively. Outside linebacker Willie McGinest, also a
starter in the Patriots' 3-4 alignment, paced the team with
9.5 sacks. Bruschi, in his ninth NFL season, earned his first
Pro Bowl selection.
Pees was hired as the head coach at Kent State on
December 17, 1997, faced with the challenge of rebuilding
a program that had not produced a winning season in 12
years and had not won more than three games in a season
for six years. Once his system was fully implemented, the
Golden Flashes showed significant improvement.
In 2001, Pees led the Golden Flashes to a 6-5 record,
notching the school's best mark in 14 years, and only the
second winning season in 25 years. In his last three seasons
at Kent State, Pees' teams won more games than the school
had won in the previous decade. Pees' six-year tenure with
the Golden Flashes made him the longest-serving head
coach in the program's last 40 years.
Prior to securing the head job at Kent State, Pees was
the defensive coordinator and inside linebackers coach on
Nick Saban's staff at Michigan State. The Spartans qualified
for a postseason bowl game in each of Pees' three seasons
in East Lansing and finished with the 13th-ranked overall
defense in the nation in his final season.
Pees joined Michigan State after serving as secondary
coach on Lou Holtz's staff at Notre Dame during the 1994
season. While in South Bend, Pees coached Eagles Pro
Bowl cornerback Bobby Taylor during his senior season in
which he was named to numerous All-American teams. He
joined the Fighting Irish after four seasons as the defensive
coordinator at the University of Toledo, where he was first
hired by Saban in 1990. In 1992, Pees' defense allowed
just 13.9 points per game as Toledo posted an 8-3 record,
including two shutout victories. Pees also served a threeyear
stint as the secondary coach at the Naval Academy
Pees began his coaching career with a six-year tenure
as a high school head coach. He then entered the college
ranks as the defensive coordinator/ secondary coach for the
University of Findlay (1979-82) and then held the same title
at Miami (Ohio) University (1983-86).
Dean Pees is a native of Dunkirk, Ohio and is a graduate of Bowling Green State University. Pees and his wife Melody have six children - Laura, Meredith, Steffani, Matt, Elli and Tarrin - and three grandchildren - Kade, Cole and Parker.