Jordan Stevens has been an assistant coach at Yale since the 2015 season, and most recently served as the co-defensive coordinator and assistant head coach for the Bulldogs. Courtesy of Yale University athletics

Jordan Stevens is coming home, and he’s thrilled.

“University of Maine football is something I’m really passionate about. It’s where I want to be a head coach,” Stevens said. “It’s one I certainly had my eye on.”

Jordan Stevens

Stevens, a former captain and assistant coach with the University of Maine football team, was named the new head coach of the program on Tuesday.

Stevens, 34, replaces Nick Charlton, who resigned last week to become the offensive coordinator at the University of Connecticut.

A 2010 UMaine grad, Stevens is a Temple native and graduated from Mt. Blue High School in Farmington in 2005. He was a defensive standout for the Black Bears and captained the team in 2009.

Stevens has been an assistant coach at Yale since the 2015 season, and most recently served as the co-defensive coordinator and assistant head coach for the Bulldogs. Prior to his time at Yale, Stevens was an assistant coach at Maine from 2011-14.

“Today has been surreal,” said Stevens by phone on Tuesday afternoon. “I always wanted to play football at the University of Maine. That was always a goal of mine. Once I was able to make that happen, I gained a lot of confidence as a young man. I want to give back. When I got into coaching, that was my mindset.”

UMaine Director of Athletics Ken Ralph said Stevens’ salary will be $245,000 a year, with a four-year contact effective immediately through Dec. 31, 2025, making Stevens the highest paid member of the university’s athletic department.

Stevens’ starting salary is well above the $153,000 made by Charlton, and above the $187,00 made by Jack Cosgrove in 2015, the final year of Cosgrove’s 23-season tenure as the Black Bears head football coach. Stevens’ salary is slightly higher than that of first-year men’s ice hockey coach Ben Barr, who this past spring signed a four-year contact and earns $235,000 a year.

Jordan Stevens is shown in 2009, when he was a senior captain for the University of Maine football team. Jeff Poulan photo

In an interview with the Press Herald last week, Ralph acknowledged the need to increase the salary of the head football coach in order to remain a competitive program. Ralph met with UMaine President Jean Ferrini-Mundy shortly after Charlton resigned to discuss increasing the salary for the position. An increase, coupled with plans to renovate Alfond Stadium using funds from the $90 million donation made to the athletic department by the Harold Alfond Foundation, would make the job more attractive, Ralph said.

“(Ferrini-Mundy) realizes if we’re going to attract high level coaches and retain high level coaches, we’ve got to be more competitive,” Ralph said last week. “She’s very understanding of the need to provide a great experience for these students. The coach-player relationship is crucial to these kids having a positive time here in Orono. She recognizes the fact we need more stability there, and increases in those areas can only help us.”

Charlton had the lowest salary among head football coaches in the Colonial Athletic Association, and even with the increase in salary for the position at UMaine, Stevens also will be near or at the bottom. University of Rhode Island head coach Jim Fleming, believed to be the second-lowest paid head coach in the league, made $263,000 in 2020.

Stevens said he’s considered making the move up from assistant to head coach for a few years, but the UMaine job was one he always the one he desired. Stevens said he plans to meet with the team later this week.

“I’ll let them know why I’m their head coach. I’ll let them know what it meant to me to be a player at Maine,” Stevens said.

While the search process moved quickly, it was thorough, Ralph said. The search committee prescreened more than 20 candidates, and conducted five full interviews. Stevens’ knowledge of football and Maine helped him rise quickly to the top of the list, Ralph said.

Joining Ralph on the search committee were Brian Faison, deputy director of athletics; Samantha Hegmann, associate athletic director/senior women’s administrator; Seth Woodcock, senior associate athletic director for development; Matt Curtis, associate athletic director for business; and TJ England, UMaine assistant director for student wellness. Football alumni also were consulted, Ralph said.

“We are thrilled Jordan Stevens has accepted our offer to be the next head coach for UMaine football,” Ralph said in a statement released by the school.

“He has a proven track record of excellence both on and off the field and brings a winning mindset to Orono. His commitment to his players and dedication to their personal development stood out in the search process. Our players will be able to feel his passion for UMaine Football every day. As a native Mainer, and accomplished former Black Bear player, Jordan will be able to unite our alumni and fan base in an exciting way. We can’t wait for him to put his mark on the program.”

The future of offensive coordinator Andrew Dresner, who last week was named interim head coach by Ralph, is in question. Ralph said he expected Stevens to reach out to Dresner on Tuesday evening. Stevens said his focus now is meeting his team and jumping straight into the recruiting process. The first national signing day for high school recruits is Dec. 15, and Stevens said he hasn’t had time to consider staffing issues yet.

“I hope they can build a strong relationship,” Ralph said.

As a defensive end with the Black Bears, Stevens was a third team all-CAA selection as a senior in 2009. In his career, Stevens recorded 184 tackles, 24 sacks, 16 tackles for loss, three pass breakup, three fumble recoveries, and five forced fumbles. Stevens attended rookie mini camp with the Detroit Lions in 2010 before signing with the Hartford Colonials of the United Football League for mini and training camp in 2010.

Portland Press Herald staff writer Mike Lowe contributed to this story.

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