NEWPORT — Nine years later, the most successful girls basketball coach and one of the smartest players in school history are reunited at Nokomis.

Earl Anderson took over as athletic director at Nokomis this summer, and his most high-profile move since is the hiring of a new girls basketball coach.

That new coach is Michelle (Murray) Paradis, who played under Anderson for four years and graduated from Nokomis in 2003. Paradis, who also graduated from Husson, coached a young Foxcroft Academy team this winter, going 5-14 in her first season.

Anderson said there seven or eight applicants, of whom two were interviewed. Paradis’ name will be submitted at the next school board meeting, which is scheduled for Aug. 21.

“FA liked her,” Anderson said. “The administration wanted to keep her very badly. She loved the kids, the administration, the support.

“Nokomis is the only job she would have applied for. She is Nokomis, though and through. She bleeds Nokomis maroon. To me, that says a lot.”

Paradis replaces Kori Dionne, who resigned June 29, three days after reports about her arrest for operating under the influence. Dionne compiled a 70-33 record over five seasons after replacing Anderson as the coach at Nokomis.

“I feel horrible that that’s the way it happened,” Paradis said. “I’m just going to take it as it is.”

“She knows the school real well, knows the community,” Anderson said. “She knows what she’s getting into. I think she looks at is as a positive challenge ahead of her.”

Dionne also coached the Nokomis girls soccer team. Gary Sinclair, who most recently coached at Eastern Maine Community College, was hired for that position. Anderson said four people interviewed for the job.

The Nokomis girls basketball team finished 20-1 this winter, losing to eventual Class B state champion Presque Isle in the regional final. The Warriors graduated starters Marissa Shaw and Emilee Reynolds and reserves Megan Perry and Brittany Dunton from that team.

Danielle Clark, a fellow 2003 Nokomis grad who recently took an assistant coaching job at the University of Southern Maine, coached Nokomis during the summer. Paradis ran Foxcroft’s summer program. She was hoping to meet with those players Monday night.

“I was extremely happy coaching at Foxcroft,” Paradis said. “I call Nokomis my home just because I graduated from there and I played all my sports there. I live two seconds from the school, and it’s very convenient.”

Although Anderson’s best teams were tremendous offensively, they were best known for their defense. Paradis is also a defense-first coach.

“Defense and conditioning,” Paradis said. “You can’t win a game if you’re not in good shape. If you play great defense, offense will kind of fall into your hands.”

When Anderson coached at Hampden Academy, Russ Bartlett was his point guard for part of the time. Bartlett is now a longtime successful coach at Hampden, and Anderson says he saw the same qualities when he coached Paradis.

“This isn’t hindsight. I said at the time, ‘I hope he’s going to be a coach,’ ” Anderson said. “Michelle was the same way. Michelle was kind of the female version of Russ Bartlett. She wasn’t just smart, and a talented player, but she got it. She understood what we were doing, and she understood why we were doing it. She knew how the pieces broke down, and she knew how those pieces came back together.”

Matt DiFilippo — 861-9243

[email protected]

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