Patriots’ Matt Patricia Chose Coaching Over Aeronautical Engineering

You don’t have to be a rocket scientist to coach football. Just ask Matt Patricia.

He had the opportunity to be a rocket scientist, but felt football was his calling, ESPNBoston.com reports. Now, the Patriots’ linebackers coach is one of the top candidates to replace Dean Pees as the team’s defensive coordinator.

The 35-year-old Patricia has been involved with the football programs at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Amherst College and Syracuse University. Rensselaer football coach Joe King remembers the aeronautical engineer for his strong work ethic.

"He did most of the jobs that an intern does — running study halls, he was involved in recruiting, making cut-ups," King told ESPNBoston.com. "I don't want to say he was emptying the baskets, but he was doing the most menial jobs. It was whatever was asked of him, but in most cases, you wouldn't have to ask him. He was already doing it on his own."

Following his season at RPI, Patricia spent two years working as an engineer following, according to ESPNBoston.com.

He returned to coaching as a graduate assistant coach at Amherst College. E.J. Mills noticed Patricia was ahead of his time in terms of utilizing technology.

"One thing that struck me right away was that he was trained in engineering and he was a computer whiz," Mills told ESPNBoston.com. "We had just gotten a new video system, and that's where you knew Matty was special. He was on the cutting edge. We'd be breaking a game down, and he'd have his Excel spreadsheet saying, 'We can do this, we can do that.' It is stuff that might be commonplace now, but he was ahead of it 10 years ago, always thinking outside the box."

Patricia followed up his time at Amherst College by becoming a graduate assistant coach at Syracuse University. Syracuse’s wide receivers coach Dennis Goldman did not understand why Patricia chose football over rocket science.

"I remember him calling me and talking about the possibility of coming to Syracuse as a graduate assistant, and I said, 'Matt, you sure you want to do that?'" Goldman told ESPNBoston.com. "I had known him from our clinics and I remember saying to myself, 'This is a rocket scientist, an aeronautical engineer, and he wants to coach football?' I told him if it's something he really wanted to do, it would be a good place for him, but he better make sure it was something he really wanted."

Goldman says Patricia not only helped the football team, but also helped his daughter pass high school calculus as well.

Bill Belichick must like what he sees in Patricia as well. He has been with the Patriots' for over five years.

You don’t have to be a genius to figure out why Patricia reportedly is being considered for the Patriots’ vacant defensive coordinator position.

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