Corey Hetherman is a former college quarterback.

But for the last eight seasons, he has coached on the other side of the ball. Now he has taken over as the defensive coordinator at the University of Maine.

Hetherman, UMaine’s defensive line coach last fall, replaces Joe Harasymiak, who was hired as the Black Bears’ head coach.

“He’s a great leader and has a very intelligent football mind,” said Harasymiak. “He is an excellent Xs and Os coach. He has coached every [defensive] position during his career.”

Harasymiak said Hetherman was able to get the most out of a talented group of defensive linemen.

“There’s no doubt in my mind he’ll get the job done. He’ll bring some new ideas,” said Harasymiak, who called Hetherman an excellent communicator and “big-time recruiter.”

“I’m very excited about it,” said the 32-year-old Hetherman, a native of Oxford, Massachusetts, which is 10 miles from Worcester.

He doesn’t foresee making any dramatic changes to the defense.

“The system is in place. What Joe has been doing here has been very successful,” said Hetherman.

Last season, the Black Bear defense ranked second in the Colonial Athletic Association in rushing yards allowed (110.8 yards per game) and was second in sacks with 32 in 11 games.

End Trevor Bates and nose guard Pat Ricard were first-team All-CAA selections.

Hetherman spent the 2014 season as the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach at Division II Pace University after spending a year as the defensive run game coordinator and assistant linebackers coach at Old Dominion University under former UMaine offensive coordinator and associate head coach Bobby Wilder. The previous year, he also had coached the outside linebackers at Old Dominion.

Hetherman also was heavily involved in recruiting at Pace and Old Dominion.

He had previous coaching stops at Northeastern University, Springfield College and with the Wuerzburg Panthers of the German Football League.

The former Fitchburg State (Massachusetts) quarterback and captain has spent time as a quarterbacks-wide receivers coach and said he feels lucky to have had the various coaching opportunities he has had.

He is excited about the large group of returnees he will be coaching next fall and said his defense will continue to be aggressive.

“We want to try to dictate the game. We aren’t going to be a team that is going to sit back and react,” said Hetherman.