Bobby Wilder, who played football at Madison High and the University of Maine, and was an assistant coach for the Black Bears from 1990-2007, would be an interesting candidate to replace Nick Charlton. Jason Hirschfeld/Associated Press

Football coach Nick Charlton’s departure from the University of Maine has yet to be announced by the school. But once the news becomes official, Maine should become an intriguing opportunity for a new coach.

Neither Maine nor the University of Connecticut made announcements on Monday regarding the status of Charlton. Multiple news reports on Sunday said that Charlton, after three years as Maine’s head coach, will become the offensive coordinator and associate head coach at UConn.

Contacted Sunday afternoon via text message, Charlton said, “I can’t comment at this time.”

The Black Bears, who finished 6-5 last fall after winning five of their final six games, are set to return a talented group of players next fall. In addition, the football program will benefit from the $90 million gift by the Harold Alfond Association to the school’s athletic program.

Alfond Stadium, home to the football team, has already received a new artificial turf surface and the stadium itself will get upgraded. Among the projects scheduled in the $110 million master plan for athletics – UMaine officials had to raise $20 million over the next 10 years as part of the upgrades – the UMaine Multipurpose Center will be constructed in one end zone, providing not only an on-campus home court for the men’s and women’s basketball teams but a new locker room and coaches offices for the football team, as well as a strength and conditioning center.

Maine’s last two head coaches, Joe Harasymiak and Charlton, were both assistant coaches at Maine when they were hired.


And while Maine certainly has several qualified assistants on hand now, the job could attract significant outside interest, including those with Maine ties.

Among the possible candidates could be Bobby Wilder, who played at Madison High and later for the Black Bears. He returned to Orono in 1990 to become an assistant coach there, eventually becoming the offensive coordinator and associate head coach, before leaving in 2007 to become the head coach at Old Dominion University, which was reinstating football after a long absence.

Wilder, 57, resigned in 2019 and had a record of 77-56 at ODU.

Contacted Monday, Wilder said he could not comment on the Maine coaching situation.

Another outside candidate could be Mickey Fein, another former UMaine quarterback who held 17 records when he graduated. He is currently the offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach at Harvard.

If Maine stays in-house, the leading candidates are likely assistant head coach/offensive line coach Pat Denecke, offensive coordinator Andrew Dresner, defensive coordinator Mike Ryan and special teams coordinator Jared Keyte.

Charlton, who had a 14-13 record, was paid $153,00 as Maine’s head football coach.

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