The Minnesota Golden Gophers have hired Maine head coach Joe Harasymiak as a new defensive assistant, taking the coaching position vacated by Robb Smith, who was fired at midseason. Defensive line coach Joe Rossi assumed Smith’s responsibilities as interim defensive coordinator before being promoted to the role permanently at the conclusion of the regular season.
Harasymiak, 32, has spent virtually his entire coaching career at Maine. He started as defensive backs coach with the Black Bears from 2011-13, before being promoted to defensive coordinator and linebackers coach for 2014-15. In his two seasons as defensive coordinator, the Black Bears’ defense ranked in the top three of the Colonial Athletic Association and top 20 nationally.
Rossi was the defensive coordinator at Maine in 2011 when Harasymiak was first hired.
Video: #Gophers defensive coordinator Joe Rossi shares his connections and views of new hire Joe Harasymiak, who was head coach at Maine. U head coach PJ Fleck will share where he will slot in on defensive staff. pic.twitter.com/QPKr2dcopw— Andy Greder (@andygreder) December 20, 2018
Harasymiak was named interim head coach at Maine in November 2015 and emerged from a national coaching search as the top candidate out of four finalists for the permanent position. In three seasons at the helm, he amassed a combined record of 20-15 and led the Black Bears to their best season in program history in 2018, with a 10-4 record and a trip to the FCS Semifinals.
As for what specific role he will be assuming at Minnesota, stay tuned for an announcement.