Matt Birkett Credit: Courtesy of UMaine Athletics

The unprecedented success of the 2018 University of Maine football team continues to have negative repercussions for the program.

With former head coach Joe Harasymiak and defensive coordinator Corey Hetherman already having moved on, another UMaine coach is leaving.

Matt Birkett, who recently completed his seventh season as a member of the defensive staff, has accepted the position as a defensive assistant at Colonial Athletic Association rival James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Virginia.

Dukes head coach Chris Signetti announced Birkett’s hire as their cornerbacks coach in a news release.

“He’s extremely impressive and does a great job coaching cornerbacks, particularly in press coverage,” Signetti said. “Matt is as good as it gets in that area and he takes a lot of pride in it. He’s been a tremendous recruiter for Maine in the Mid-Atlantic region and he will be a terrific asset in that area for us.”

Birkett will be in familiar company at JMU, where Hetherman recently was appointed as the defensive coordinator after holding that position at UMaine.

Harasymiak cut ties with UMaine to become the defensive backs coach at Minnesota of the Big Ten Conference.

UMaine, which finished the regular season ranked No. 12 in the country, recently completed a 10-4 season by earning a spot in the Football Championship Subdivision semifinals, where the Black Bears lost 50-19 at Eastern Washington.

The Black Bears went 7-1 against ranked opponents this season and won a home playoff game for the first time in program history.

Birkett served as the defensive backs coach at UMaine for two seasons after leading the cornerbacks for the previous three years. He began his stint in Orono in 2012 under former coach Jack Cosgrove, and worked with the tight ends and the running backs for one season each.

With the Black Bears, Birkett mentored the likes of defensive backs Manny Patterson, Najee Goode, Axel Ofori and Sherrod Baltimore, the latter of whom is playing in the Canadian Football League.

Birkett came to Maine from Chaminade High School in California where he was the defensive backs coach and helped the team to a 10-2 record. He spent the 2010 campaign working for the video department with UCLA football.

He previously coached high school football in Hawaii and at Cambridge Rindge and Latin High School in Massachusetts.

Birkett is a 2003 graduate of Edinboro College, where he led the Scots to a conference title. He previously played at the University of Rhode Island.

Birkett and his wife Sara have two sons, Justus and Massai, and two daughters, Mischa and Siena.

Pete Warner

Pete graduated from Bangor High School in 1980 and earned a B.S. in Journalism (Advertising) from the University of Maine in 1986. He grew up fishing at his family's camp on Sebago Lake but didn't take...