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Upon leaving Miami after the 1986 season, Pees held assistant coaching jobs at Navy, Toledo, Notre Dame and Michigan State, before taking a head coaching position with Kent State in 1998.

After six seasons, Pees left Kent State entered the NFL coaching ranks as the Patriots‘ defensive coordinator.

With Pees being promoted to Baltimore’s defensive coordinator this season, he becomes the fourth person to hold that position under Harbaugh’s watch in the past five years.

The previous three saw varied amounts of success, beginning with Rex Ryan, now the coach of the New York Jets.

Following Ryan, Greg Mattison manned the post in 2009-10 before taking the same position at Michigan. There, Mattison improved a defense that ranked 110th the previous season to 17th.

Last year, Chuck Pagano’s aggressive style placed Baltimore as the third best defense, as far as statistics are concerned, and ultimately landed him the coaching job for the Indianapolis Colts.

Now it’s Pees‘ turn to orchestrate a defense with its main pieces in place.

Even with Suggs out, it can be said that 17-year veteran Ray Lewis and safety Ed Reed make things much easier no matter who the coach is.

“There’s a lot of veterans that will sit back and say I have a pretty good handle on this stuff, I can do that,” Pees said. “But this is why these guys are the great pros they are. They’re taking notes, studying film, they act like this is the first time they’ve heard it, and it’s not. That’s why they are who they are. That’s why they have my utmost respect, because of the way they approach the game and approach their profession.”

Despite being 62, Pees‘ booming voice carries on the football field. He joked that he probably could yell plays in from the sideline and his players would be able to hear him over the crowd noise.

Linebacker Paul Kruger described Pees as having “old man wisdom,” saying he’s learned a lot from Pees in the linebacker meeting rooms the previous two years.

“I think Coach Pees commands respect,” Kruger said. “He’s just a leader. I think nobody questions the authority or the leadership at all this year. It’s just one of those things where he’s got that presence that everybody understands. I think that’s probably the biggest positive that I’ve seen this year.”

Pees will look to continue the tradition that comes with coaching one of the NFL’s best defenses.

Though his predecessors have left their marks, Pees isn’t looking to vary from who he is on the sideline.

“I’ve been around coaches who have tried to be somebody other than who they are,” he said. “You’ve got to fit your personality. We have a system here. We have a system in place. It’s a system that has been proven, it’s worked. So, I’m not going to come in and try to change that system.”