DOVER-FOXCROFT, Maine — Paul Withee’s bid to keep his jobs as a mathematics teacher and head football coach at Foxcroft Academy was turned down by the school’s board of trustees Friday, according to board president Peter W. Culley.
Withee, who had coached and taught math for 19 years at the private school, was told by then-head of school Raymond P. Webb this spring that his annually renewable teaching contract would not be renewed for the 2009-2010 academic year.
Withee’s position as Foxcroft’s head football coach subsequently was advertised in the Bangor Daily News on June 20, but the veteran educator and his legal counsel appealed his dismissal through a grievance proceeding with the superintending committee of the board of trustees, Culley said.
That formal proceeding was held July 9, and the committee’s ruling to affirm Webb’s original decision not to rehire Withee came on Friday, Culley said.
Withee, who has opted not to speak on the record with the media since his case became public, did not return a call to his cell phone seeking comment Friday evening.
Some interviews already have been conducted in an effort to hire Withee’s coaching replacement, and with the start of preseason practices scheduled for Monday, Aug. 17, school officials hope to fill the vacancy as soon as possible.
Withee had considerable success as Foxcroft’s football coach, becoming the winningest coach in the program’s history with a 150-56 record since arriving at the school in 1990 after eight years as an assistant coach at Sanford.
His first team finished 2-6, but that was one of just three sub-.500 seasons the Ponies had under Withee’s watch as the Madison native not only was instrumental in developing a local feeder system for the program but also rebuilt the high school team to the point that it won the Class C state championship in 1996.
That was the first of three state titles for the Ponies during Withee’s tenure, with Foxcroft also claiming gold in 2003 and 2007.
That matched the number of state crowns won by the school in its football history before Withee’s arrival. The Ponies shared the Class D state title with Bucksport, Dixfield and York in 1963, won the Class C championship in 1967 and won the Class D crown in 1983.
Foxcroft also won seven Eastern Maine Class C championships under Withee’s guidance in 1996, 1997, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006 and 2007, and the Ponies won 39 consecutive home games at Oakes Field during a span of nearly seven years between October 2001 and September 2008.
Foxcroft finished 6-4 last fall, reaching the LTC semifinals before dropping a 41-22 decision to John Bapst of Bangor, the eventual state champion.
That marked the first time since 2000 that Foxcroft did not reach the regional championship game.