When the University of Maine decided it wanted a fresh face leading its football team, it certainly went to an extreme.

Joe Harasymiak, 29, became the youngest head coach in Division I football when he was promoted last week from his role as defensive coordinator. He replaces Jack Cosgrove, who decided at age 60 to give up coaching for a senior associate athletic director position at the university.

“Youth is one thing, experience is another. You get a greater experience at Maine than you do at a lot of other places because you need to roll your sleeves up. You need to learn what works at Maine,” Cosgrove said of Harasymiak, whom he hired to help coach his defensive backs in February 2011 and then promoted twice.

“It’s a young man’s game. The world we live in now goes awful fast, technology and all those type of things. Joe will be good at those things. I think youth is a benefit.”

It’s not a new trend in the sports world, or even in New England. Theo Epstein was just 28 when he became general manager of the Boston Red Sox. The baby-faced Brad Stevens took over the Boston Celtics at age 36 and turned them into a playoff team last season.

Mitch Stewart of Murray State is the next-youngest Football Championship Subdivision head coach at age 33. Western Michigan’s P.J. Fleck, 35, is the youngest in the Football Bowl Subdivision. Matt Campbell just left Toledo to take the reins at Iowa State in the Big 12 Conference, celebrating his 36th birthday in the process.

There is an obvious appeal to tapping into a new generation of coaches, said Maine Athletic Director Karlton Creech.

“He’s coming with great energy. I think he can identify with recruits. I think he can identify with our coaching staff, which is made up of younger guys,” Creech said after choosing Harasymiak from four finalists to replace Cosgrove, who had been at the helm for 23 seasons. “Our other finalists had a lot more experience. We felt like Joe counteracted that, with young being an advantage.

“He will really up our presence on social media, around marketing the program and recruiting.”

Creech sees Harasymiak as representative of an increase in the sports world of job-seekers aiming higher at younger ages.

“People are developing their skills and are maybe more intentional right now about their careers,” Creech said. “And Joe will be able to bring fresh ideas and new ways to brand our program, and really put his stamp on it.”

It also allows Maine to pay Harasymiak a slightly lower salary – $150,000 as opposed to the $187,000 that Cosgrove made last year. That will make him one of the lowest-paid coaches in the Colonial Athletic Association, Creech acknowledged, but it also could free up money to increase the salaries of assistant coaches.

Harasymiak said he applied for the head-coaching job the moment he heard Cosgrove was stepping aside. He got a boost when Cosgrove recommended him to be the interim coach.

“I thought I was ready and that I could do the job,” said Harasymiak, a New Jersey native. “Yes, I got that question several times about the experience part of things. I’ve always been given great advice in terms of just do a great job with the job you have and everything else will take care of itself.

“Just be yourself. That’s how I’ve progressed. I’ve just put my head down and worked hard.”

Harasymiak will be 30 by the time he coaches his first game, at Connecticut. When CAA play begins, he’ll be matching wits with coaches much older, such as Villanova’s Andy Talley, who is 72.

Cosgrove will be available as a mentor, Creech noted.

But much of the learning will be on the job. A head coach is constantly on the phone, Cosgrove said, checking in with recruits and assistant coaches. Instead of being responsible for 10 or 12 players as a position coach, you’re suddenly keeping tabs on an entire roster of 95.

“You’re always racing. Your heart’s racing, your body’s racing, your car’s racing,” Cosgrove said. “It takes time to know what to do with your time.”

As for looking over his young successor’s shoulder, Cosgrove demurred.

“This is his program now,” Cosgrove said. “I told him, ‘I’ll have an office upstairs and you’ll know where it is and you’re welcome anytime.

“But I won’t be coming down to yours to bug (you).'”