NEWPORT, Maine — Nokomis Regional High School has turned to an alumna from its basketball glory days to be its new girls varsity coach in that sport.
Michelle (Murray) Paradis, a 2003 Nokomis graduate who helped the Warriors win the 2001 Class A state championship and the 2003 Eastern Maine Class A title, has been selected to replace Kori Dionne. Dionne resigned after five seasons as head coach on June 29 in the aftermath of her June 8 arrest for operating under the influence of intoxicants.
Dionne subsequently pleaded guilty to the OUI charge in Bangor District Court on July 18.
Paradis, who also played soccer and softball at Nokomis, went on to play basketball for one season at Colby-Sawyer College in New London, N.H., and then for one season at Husson University in Bangor before turning her attention to the pursuit of a nursing degree.
Paradis graduated from Husson in 2008, then worked at the Dorothea Dix Psychiatric Center in Bangor before taking her current position as a risk manager for both the Dorothea Dix facility and the Riverview Psychiatric Center in Augusta.
The new coaching job reunites Paradis — who made her varsity coaching debut last winter at Foxcroft Academy of Dover-Foxcroft — with her high school basketball coach, Earl Anderson, who this summer became the new athletic administrator at Nokomis.
“Having coach Anderson as AD was huge for me,” said Paradis, who also served as an assistant under Anderson before he stepped down from the coaching post at Nokomis in 2007. “I feel so bad because the people at Foxcroft were awesome, but I think they knew that one of the only places I’d go if the job came open was Nokomis.”
Paradis guided a youthful Foxcroft team to a 5-14 record last winter, with the Ponies qualifying for a berth in the Eastern Maine Class B preliminary round.
“We had a young team, but I had so much fun with those girls and I have nothing but good things to say about Foxcroft,” she said.
But Paradis, who commutes regularly between Augusta and Bangor in her job as a risk manager, lives just moments from the Nokomis campus, meaning more time during the winter to spend with her husband Justin, son Jake and daughter Kaylee, who was born on Feb. 21, just days after Foxcroft’s basketball season ended.
“Now I live like two seconds from the school,” she said.
Nokomis finished 20-1 last season, losing to eventual Class B state champion Presque Isle in the Eastern Maine Class B final after winning the regional title in both 2010 and 2011.
The Warriors graduated four players from the 2012 team led by Marissa Shaw, who is joining the University of Maine field hockey program this fall. Nine players from last year’s team are expected to return for the 2012-13 season.
Paradis’ hiring is expected to get final approval by the local school board later this month.
Sinclair vs. Sinclair
Two Eastern Maine Class B girls soccer coaches will share the same home in Dexter this fall, but they will be coaching different teams from different conferences.
Whitney Sinclair recently was hired to fill the varsity coaching vacancy at Foxcroft Academy. Now her father, Gary Sinclair, has been selected to replace Dionne in the same post at Nokomis of Newport.
Nokomis plays in the Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference, while Foxcroft competes in the Penobscot Valley Conference.
The younger Sinclair, a record-setting soccer player at the University of Maine at Fort Kent during the last four years, is living with her parents in Dexter and working in Dover-Foxcroft this fall before resuming classes toward earning her nursing degree from UMFK during the spring 2013 semester.
The elder Sinclair has coached at the high school and college levels for the last 25 years. He most recently coached women’s soccer at Eastern Maine Community College in Bangor and still coaches that school’s women’s basketball team.
The Nokomis girls soccer team reached the Eastern Maine Class B preliminary round last fall.
“We had a couple of [summer] practices, and so far I’m really impressed,” said Sinclair recently. “It’s a good bunch coming back.”
MPA adds to sportsmanship awards
The Maine Principals’ Association will add sportsmanship awards for football, boys and girls soccer and volleyball beginning this fall.
Winning schools from both Eastern and Western Maine in each class will receive banners to place in their gymnasiums at the state championship games for their sport, according to MPA assistant executive director Mike Burnham.
Football, soccer and volleyball join basketball, baseball, ice hockey, softball, swimming and wrestling as MPA-sanctioned sports for which sportsmanship banners are presented.
Burnham said officials are working to determine ways for the MPA to similarly present sportsmanship awards to qualifying teams in sports that don’t use Heal points such as cross country, track and field and cheering. Teams in those sports have fewer regular-season meetings on which to base sportsmanship rankings.