Joe Harasymiak realizes that in coaching, there’s no substitute for experience.
That’s why he plans to rely heavily on what he has learned from his predecessors as he takes over this spring as the defensive coordinator for the University of Maine football team.
Harasymiak has been appointed to replace Paul Ferraro, who left UMaine in December to take a position at Central Florida, which he subsequently relinquished.
“I’m excited about the opportunity,” Harasymiak said. “The continuity’s definitely something that allows our guys to feel free and really play to their abilities.”
Harasymiak, who has spent the last three seasons working with the Black Bears’ defensive backs, steps into a more influential role as the coordinator.
“I’m pleased to have a guy on our staff continue with the working knowledge of the defense we’re running, the things we’re doing, the personnel,” said UMaine head coach Jack Cosgrove. “Joe’s been with us for three years and has really been on a fast track in terms of growth and development.”
The 27-year-old Harasymiak said he has been fortunate to have some successful coaching mentors, including former coordinators Ferraro and Joe Rossi at UMaine.
“Those guys are great resources for me and I’d be stupid not to reach out and get their advice and as questions about how they did things when they were first defensive coordinator,” Harasymiak said.
He is grateful to Cosgrove for giving him the chance to direct the defense.
“I couldn’t ask for a better person to work for and obviously the experience I’ve had here has been great,” Harasymiak said. “It’s an honor to have that chance and carry on the “Black Hole.”
Cosgrove, who has demonstrated a propensity to promote coaches within the staff, is not concerned about Harasymiak’s relative youth.
“He’s done a great job for us, and he’s obviously the most experienced and most worthy candidate that we had on staff,” said Cosgrove, who received positive feedback from Ferraro, Joe Rossi and former defensive backs coach Steve Vashel, all of whom worked with Harasymiak at UMaine.
“He’s a high-energy coach. He loves the game, studies it hard,” Cosgrove said. “He’s a teacher, an educator who works relentlessly to get better.”
Harasymiak, a native of Waldwick, N.J., is a graduate of Springfield (Mass.) College, where he was a two-time all-conference pick. He tied the school records interceptions in a season (10) and in a career (17).
He began his coaching career in 2008 as the defensive backs coach under Chris McKenney at Maine Maritime Academy in Castine, then returned to Springfield for a two-year stint working with the wide receivers (2009) and the quarterbacks (2010).
Harasymiak has two main values which he believes are critical to the success of the defensive unit as they move forward.
“The two things I always talk about are accountability and honesty,” he said. “I’ve got to get them prepared, and they’ve got to give me everything they’ve got. And that’s what will lead us to playing well.”