The search to replace Robb Smith as defensive coordinator was shorter than expected as Rutgers announced the hiring of Joe Harasymiak on Friday afternoon. Minutes before, Pete Thamel tweeted the move to hire the Minnesota co-DC was imminent.
“Joe is one of the rising stars in our profession,” Schiano said. “It is great to bring Joe back to New Jersey, where I can’t wait to watch him coach and develop our players both on and off the field. We welcome Joe, his wife Brittany and daughters Sophie and Ellie to the Rutgers Football Family.”
Minnesota was third nationally in total defense this past season, as well as eighth nationally in rush defense and ninth in passing yards allowed.
Harasymiak is from Waldwick, New Jersey and has been the co-DC for Minnesota the past two seasons along with former Rutgers assistant Joe Rossi. They of course were hired by PJ Fleck, who was an assistant at Rutgers under Greg Schiano. Fleck promoted Rossi to replace Robb Smith, who he fired in the middle of the 2019 season.
After joining the Minnesota staff prior to the 2019 season, Harasymiak coached defensive backs and safeties his first year. He coached Antoine Winfield, who was Minnesota’s leading tackler and was named a Unanimous All-American along with Big Ten Defensive Back of the Year.
In early 2020, Harasymiak was promoted to Defensive Backs, Safeties and Co-Defensive Coordinator in February 2020.
Prior to his three year stint with the Gophers, Harasymiak was head coach at Maine where he led them to a conference title and the FCS semifinals in his final season in 2018. He coached with the Black Bears for eight seasons overall including linebackers and three as head coach.
At just 35 years old, Harasymiak has moved up the coaching ranks quickly. He does bring experience as a defensive play caller and head coach, as well as three years as a Big Ten assistant. He has a natural recruiting tie-in to New Jersey and ran a similar defensive system at Minnesota under Fleck that Schiano utilizes at Rutgers.
It was reported by James Kratch of NJ advance Media that he was making $410,000 at Minnesota. Former Rutgers DC Robb Smith made $700,000 last season, so Harasymiak is due a raise and perhaps Schiano will even save some money to reallocate to the one assistant spot still available.
Overall, hiring a DC away from a top half Big Ten team and the package that Harasymiak brings with him as a coach makes this a promising acquisition.
More to come on this hiring and how it impacts the coaching staff program moving forward in the coming days.
Update: Latin Friday, Rutgers also announced the hiring of Marquise Watson as defensive line coach.
From our friends at SB Nation’s Minnesota site: