ORONO — When Jon Petrie entered the University of Maine as a freshman in 2013, he thought he was going to be a lawyer. Instead, he discovered he wanted to do something more creative. And he’s certainly doing that.

Petrie, 24 and a graduate of Mountain Valley High in Rumford, is the man behind the UMaine football videos that are grabbing so much attention on social media.

As the Black Bears prepare to play in the Football Championship Subdivision semifinals for the first time, at 2 p.m. Saturday at Eastern Washington University, Petrie is trying to boost interest in the team with some rather dramatic videos.

Each video is about 2 1/2 minutes long, complete with narration, music and highlights. Petrie has produced videos leading into the second round of the playoffs (narrated by head coach Joe Harasymiak) and the quarterfinals (with a Billy Bob Thornton clip from “Friday Night Lights”). Another Petrie video dropped on social media Wednesday leading into the semifinals.

“The response has been phenomenal,” said Sam Hallett, Maine’s assistant athletic director for digital content. “People are getting excited and getting ready for game day.”

Hallett said a normal video on social media might get 1,500 views. Petrie’s video leading into the playoffs had 43,000 views on Facebook, 700 likes and 600 shares, according to Hallett. On Twitter, it had 34,000 views, 254 retweets and 714 likes.

Rumford native Jon Petrie, 24, joined UMaine’s athletic video team this summer, shortly after finishing his degree at the university.

Petrie, who played golf and lacrosse in high school, said he first became interested in sports videos when he saw “The Rivals,” a 2010 documentary about the high school football rivalry between Cape Elizabeth and Mountain Valley.

“I remember as a kid seeing that as a movie, and the idea that I could see teams that I liked and followed being presented in this bigger picture instilled a sense of pride,” said Petrie. “I’d like to think the work I do does that for other people. When I see people share it on Facebook and say, ‘Let’s go Maine,’ it’s giving the pride that I think every person in Maine should have.”

He shoots the video from the sidelines, then spends a day editing it and matching it up with dialogue and music. Then he spends a day putting it together.

Hallett said the work comes naturally to Petrie, who was hired in August, just two months after he graduated with degrees in political science and journalism.

“For me, I would think of every little thing and slave over it hours and hours,” said Hallett. “But for him, he seems to be able to piece things together with music and the images he captures and just is able to make something that looks polished and professional and represents us the best way we can.”

Petrie is pleased with the response. He said he never saw anything like this for any of the UMaine teams growing up.

“When you see it in this light, it makes it feel more special,” he said. “You get a sense of joy – ‘Yes, we matter.'”

HARASYMIAK FINISHED sixth in the balloting for the Eddie Robinson Award, given annually to the top FCS coach. Dan Hawkins of UC-Davis was announced as the winner on Wednesday.

Harasymiak led a Maine team that was picked to finish eighth in the Colonial Athletic Association to a league title and a 10-3 mark going into Saturday’s national semifinal.

JACK COSGROVE retired as Maine’s head football coach after the 2015 season and just finished his first season as head coach at Colby College. The Mules went 3-6 and won the Colby-Bates-Bowdoin championship.

His hand, however, is still in the success of the Black Bears this year. The seniors and juniors represent the last two classes he recruited.

And come Thursday, he’ll be on the plane carrying the Black Bears across country, at Harasymiak’s request.

“That means a lot,” said Cosgrove. “I was honored to be asked and I’m really looking forward to it. It’s exciting.”

Asked where he’ll be, on the sidelines or in the stands, Cosgrove said, “Wherever they let me go, that’s where I’ll go.”

Harasymiak said there was no question Cosgrove, the winningest coach in Maine history, deserved to be there when the Black Bears play in their first national semifinal. Cosgrove brought the Black Bears to the quarterfinals three time.

“He’s the reason I’m here,” said Harasymiak. “He hired me as a defensive backs coach and promoted me to defensive coordinator and probably had a lot to do with me getting the head job. Of course I also have to thank (former athletic director) Karlton Creech and (former Maine president) Susan Hunter. But I’m sure Coach Coz had a voice in it. So he’s coming this weekend. On the plane.”

Senior wide receiver Micah Wright knows how much Cosgrove has meant to the success of this team.

“Things have changed a little, but it’s still the Maine way,” said Wright. “The blueprint is still there.”

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.