Joe Harasymiak didn’t have to look far to find his new offensive coordinator.

The University of Maine promoted Brian Picucci to the offensive coordinator position on Wednesday afternoon, less than a week after Liam Coen left after two years to take a similar position at Holy Cross.

Picucci, a 46-year-old native of Leominster, Massachusetts, was the offensive line coach last fall. He was formerly the offensive coordinator at the University of Massachusetts from 2009-12.

“I’m just excited knowing how knowledgeable Brian is,” said Harasymiak, UMaine’s head football coach. “I’ve had a lot of football conversations with him. He’ll be different from Liam. We’ll see what he brings to the table in terms of schemes and attack.

“But we’ve got a guy who’s proved himself and has done it and his football mind is very high.”

Harasymiak, who is entering his third year at Maine, said he offered Picucci the position the day after Coen left for Holy Cross. “It was a no-brainer for me, an easy promotion,” said Harasymiak.

He cited Picucci’s success coaching previously in the Colonial Athletic Association – under Picucci, Massachusetts led the CAA in total offense in 2010 and was second in 2009.

“The terminology and the wording (of the offense) will be the same,” said Harasymiak. “The transition for the kids should be easy because they’ve worked with him before. Brian will have his tweaks. He will call the game his own way.”

Picucci is looking forward to doing just that. He worked closely with Coen – who he coached at Massachusetts – in establishing the game plan at Maine.

“Obviously, once you’ve done it before and had the taste of it, you want to get it back,” he said. “Liam and I had a great working relationship. We bounced a lot of stuff off each other. I had a hand in the game plan before, now it’s a matter of calling the plays.”

Picucci has 21 years of college coaching experience. In addition to being the offensive coordinator for four years at Massachusetts, he had one-year stints in that position at Widener University and Becker College. As offensive line coach last fall he helped produce a running game that was ranked third in the CAA (174.2 yards per game). Maine was also ranked third in total offense (388.4 yards per game).

“I’m glad to be back doing it again and grateful for the opportunity Joe has given me,” said Picucci.

Despite losing three offensive line starters and seeing Josh Mack, the nation’s leading Football Championship Subdivision rusher, transfer, Picucci likes the potential of Maine’s offense.

“I feel good about most of the guys we have coming back,” he said. “We’ve got some holes to fill but I think we’ve got a great nucleus. Each year is its own team, its own entity. We’ll take on some different characteristics and probably look a little different from a year ago.”

Maine also announced that Pat Denecke, the tight ends coach a year ago, will take over as offensive line coach.

Harasymiak said promotions show the value of having a strong staff. “You’ve got to pay attention to every hire,” he said. “They’re all important.”

Harasymiak also said junior defensive lineman Uchenna Egwuonwu has been granted his release to transfer.

Egwuonwu, who was expected to be Maine’s top defensive lineman last fall, was one of three players suspended at the start of training camp for an alleged violation of the university’s Student Code of Conduct. The investigation was conducted by the UMaine Student Conduct Office in the Division of Student Life. Egwuonwu was the only player who remained suspended all season.

Running back Darian Davis-Ray and wide receiver Micah Wright both returned, though injuries ended their seasons.

Harasymiak said he was working with Egwuonwu to find “the best situation for him.”

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

[email protected]

Twitter: MikeLowePPH

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.