Matt Patricia ’96 Will Be Keynote Speaker at Joint Service ROTC Military Ball

February 13, 2020

Matt Patricia ’96 Will Be Keynote Speaker at Joint Service ROTC Military Ball

Detroit Lions head coach will also visit with current student athletes

Detroit Lions head coach and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute alumnus Matt Patricia ’96 will be the keynote speaker at the Rensselaer Joint Service ROTC Military Ball in Troy on Friday, February 14.

Rensselaer hosts Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps and Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps on campus and additionally has many students participate in Army Reserve Officer Training Corps hosted at Siena College. These programs train cadets and midshipmen to become commissioned officers in the United States military upon graduation. The Joint Service ROTC Military Ball is an annual celebration rooted in military history honoring the accomplishments and upcoming active duty service of cadets and midshipmen.

“As military members, we are constantly learning, and one of those avenues is through engagements with some of our country’s most successful leaders. That’s why we are thrilled to have Coach Patricia speak,” said Lt Col Nick Graham, Commander of Air Force ROTC Det 550 at Rensselaer. “His experience over the past two decades leading successful teams at the professional level gives him a unique perspective. And I can draw no closer parallel to military service and execution than team sports. We are grateful he accepted the invitation to come inspire our cadets and midshipmen, and I’m confident the experience will be mutually beneficial.”

Before speaking at the Military Ball in the evening, Patricia will tour academic and research facilities at Rensselaer and meet with student athletes.

“We are thrilled to welcome Matt Patricia back to the RPI campus,” said Associate Vice President and Director of Athletics Lee McElroy. “As someone who excelled in both athletics and academics, he has a great deal of wisdom and experience to share with our students.”

As an undergraduate at Rensselaer, Patricia played on the football team as an offensive lineman and earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in aeronautical engineering. After graduating, he remained on campus and discovered the joy of coaching while serving as a graduate assistant to Rensselaer Coach Joe King.

Patricia got his start in the National Football League as an assistant coach for the New England Patriots. He spent 14 seasons with the Patriots, including six as the team’s defensive coordinator, and won three Super Bowls.

In 2018, Patricia became the first Rensselaer alumnus to be named head coach of an NFL franchise when he took the helm of the Detroit Lions.

Reporters interested in covering his visit should contact Associate Athletic Director Kevin Beattie at


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About Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Founded in 1824, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute is America’s first technological research university. Rensselaer encompasses five schools, over 30 research centers, more than 140 academic programs including 25 new programs, and a dynamic community made up of over 6,800 students and 104,000 living alumni. Rensselaer faculty and alumni include upwards of 155 National Academy members, six members of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, six National Medal of Technology winners, five National Medal of Science winners, and a Nobel Prize winner in Physics. With nearly 200 years of experience advancing scientific and technological knowledge, Rensselaer remains focused on addressing global challenges with a spirit of ingenuity and collaboration. To learn more, please visit