The University of Maine’s football coaching pipeline continues to carry staff members to other positions elsewhere.
Joe Rossi, who spent the last five seasons at UMaine, has become the fifth member of coach Jack Cosgrove’s coaching staff to accept another job this offseason. He has been named the special teams coach by first-year head coach Kyle Flood at Rutgers University.
Rossi, who was UMaine’s defensive coordinator, becomes the fifth coach to leave the program this winter, along with offensive line coach Frank Giufre (Indianapolis Colts), receivers and special teams coach Kevin Cahill (Yale), defensive backs coach Steve Vashel (Yale) and defensive assistant Steve Boyle.
The Rutgers job is a good fit for Rossi for a handful of reasons.
“The obvious thing is the opportunity to go to the Division I-A level, the FBS [Football Bowl Subdivision] level, which is an attractive thing for me going forward in my career,” Rossi said.
Rutgers, which is located in North Brunswick, N.J., is also much closer to home for Rossi and his wife, Lynsey, both of whom are from Pittsburgh.
And while it was not a key consideration, Rossi admitted the Rutgers position pays considerably more than his UMaine job.
He had been preparing for UMaine’s spring season, which begins next month, when he received a call recently about an opening at Rutgers, where former UMaine defensive coordinator Robb Smith holds that position.
“I’ll be honest with you, I wasn’t looking,” Rossi said. “Then, all of a sudden, I’m packing my stuff.”
Rossi arrived in Orono in 2007 after spending six seasons at Division III Thiel College in Greenville, Pa. He was a defensive assistant for two seasons and was promoted to defensive coordinator after the 2008 season when Smith left for Rutgers.
Rossi said he is thankful for the support of Cosgrove during his years at UMaine.
“It’s bittersweet from the standpoint I Ioved working for coach Cos. He’s a great coach and an even better person,” Rossi said.
Rossi, a 2001 graduate of Allegheny College, will further enhance the Colonial Athletic Association presence at Rutgers.
Flood was an assistant at Delaware from 2002-05 and offensive coordinator Dave Brock was an assistant at Hofstra, where Scarlet Knights linebackers coach Dave Cohen was the head coach from 2006-09. He previously was an assistant at Delaware.
Quarterbacks coach Rob Spence and offensive line coach Damian Wroblewski also coached at Hofstra, while graduate assistant Tom McEntire previously coached at UMaine.