Matt Patricia has found someone to run his defense -- and it’s a person with whom he’s very familiar.
Former Syracuse coach Paul Pasqualoni, who was Patricia’s boss with the Orange from 2001 to 2003, was named the new Detroit Lions defensive coordinator Wednesday morning -- one of seven coaching hires the organization announced.
Patricia will be officially introduced as the team’s head coach at 3 p.m. Wednesday.
Pasqualoni has most of his experience coaching defensive linemen. He was a defensive coordinator in the NFL for three seasons: in Miami from 2008 to 2009 and then with Dallas in 2010. He’s been a head coach at three stops, most notably with Syracuse from 1991 to 2004. He was the head coach at West Connecticut State from 1982 to 1986 and then Connecticut from 2011 to 2013.
After being fired by the Huskies after a 10-18 record over two-plus seasons, he bounced around as a defensive line coach, first in the NFL with Chicago in 2014 and Houston in 2015, then Boston College the past two seasons.
Of the seven official hires, two are holdovers from the previous Lions staff but in new positions: George Godsey will coach quarterbacks and Al Golden will coach linebackers. Golden had been Detroit’s tight ends coach last year and Godsey a defensive assistant on special projects.
The Lions also brought in Chris White to coach tight ends, Brian Stewart to coach defensive backs, Jeff Davidson to coach the offensive line and David Corrao as the director of football research.
Many of these hires have prior connections to Patricia -- mostly from his days at Syracuse. Pasqualoni was Patricia’s boss during his three years with the Orange. White was the special-teams coordinator/tight ends coach at Syracuse from 2000 to 2003, when Patricia was there, and then the recruiting coordinator from 2003 to 2008.
Corrao, the director of football research, was a graduate assistant at Syracuse along with Patricia. He was there for four seasons, from 2000 to 2003.
Godsey was with the Patriots for three seasons while Patricia was in New England.
The new coaches who don’t have connections to Patricia each have lengthy backgrounds. Golden is a former head coach at the University of Miami and Temple and was with the Lions the past two seasons. Davidson has coached in the NFL for 24 years and was most recently with Denver.
Stewart was the defensive coordinator at Rice last year but has coached in the NFL with the Eagles, Cowboys, Texans and Chargers.