Paradis looking to guide her ’Builders to success
New coach takes over Morse girls basketball
New Morse High School girls basketball coach smiles during a KVAC game while coaching at Maranacook. (Joe Phelan / Kennebec Journal)
BATH — Jeannine Paradis has been here before.
Maranacook head coach Jeannine Paradis directs the Black Bears during a Western Maine Class C semifinal game on February 20, 2015 at the Augusta Civic Center. (Joe Phelan / Kennebec Journal)
Morse High School athletic director Nathan Priest recently announced that former Mt. Blue and Maranacook girls basketball coach Jeannine Paradis has become the new girls basketball coach of the Shipbuilders, replacing Jan Veinot.
To say the least, Paradis faces a daunting task right from the start. Morse is coming off a winless 2018/19 season.
“It’s not my first time starting out with a struggling program,” said Paradis from her Biddeford home. “I am excited to be coming to Morse.”
“Jeannine has a lot of experience in the KVAC, having coached at Mt. Blue and Maranacook prior to her coming to Morse. She has taken struggling programs and turned them into competitive programs,” said Priest of his new hire. “The fact that she brought programs from down to up was a significant part of her hiring.
“Bath is very much a town that loves basketball. It was important to find the right fit for a position that will take some work to put the program back on the map in the community. The fact that she has experience in growing programs is huge.”
>span class="s1">She was hired to coach at Mt. Blue in 2002, turning around the girls basketball squad during her tenure, which ended after the 2009 season. Paradis next moved up to Readfield, coaching Maranacook to success, including the program’s first regional title in 2015 and a State Class C final appearance (a 59-51 loss to Houlton).
“I had a feeling that Maranacook group of players was going to be special,” said Paradis of her Black Bears, a program she departed from after the 2018 season. “The year before I thought we were just a player away from being better. They were a group that had been together through elementary and middle school, so once they moved to the high school it was a matter of getting used to the speed of the varsity game.”
Paradis is engaged to Casey Small and is the mom of two dogs and two cats. Her social worker job takes her throughout southern Maine, mostly in Sanford.
Former Maranacook girls basketball coach Jeannine Paradis talks things over with her team during a timeout at the Augusta Civic Center. Paradis, who has been named the new girls basketball coach at Morse, led the Black Bears to their first regional title in 2015. (Submitted photo)
Now comes the big challenge, turning a Shipbuilder program that has won just three games over the past two years around.
Since 2011/12, Morse has picked up one victory in the playoffs — a 42-37 Class A South quarterfinal win over rival Brunswick in the 2016 tournament at the Portland Expo. Becky Roak coached Morse to that victory and departed after the 2016/17 season, a 5-13 campaign that ended with a preliminary loss to Leavitt.
Veinot coached Morse to a prelim appearance the next season (a 58-54 loss to Falmouth).
Paradis has worked with many of her incoming players during the summer. She remembers tough Kennebec Valley Athletic Conference battles inside the Bath Middle School gym during her days at Maranacook and knows there is a passion among the Shipbuilder fan base.
“Any time you came into that gym, the energy is there, both from the players and the fans,” said Paradis. “Win or lose, up or down,
Morse athletes always give their best. The atmosphere here is something I love and look forward to coaching in. I enjoy a loud, enthusiastic crowd that has a tradition. I also will have Tom Maines to bounce ideas off of, which is great.”
Paradis describes her coaching style — like new Mt. Ararat girls’ basketball coach Julie Petrie said recently — as “fiery.”
“I may be loud at times, but if you listen to what I am saying, there is enthusiasm and passion for the game there, and I am always making sure that my team is disciplined and going down the right path,” said Paradis.
“She has an eye for detail and a plan on how to develop the program,” added Priest. “I’ve also received feedback from stakeholders during summer ball that is very positive and encouraging. I think she is going to be a great fit here at Morse.”
Having coached in the KVAC, Paradis feels there is a solid coaching tree to work with.
Jeannine Paradis, here cheering her Maranacook Black Bears on during a game in 2015, is the new Morse girls basketball coach. (Submitted photo)
“Yes, the conference is tough, and at Mt. Blue and Maranacook, we played a KVAC schedule and had several crossover games where we were challenged,” said the coach. “I love the KVAC. I love that I can call anyone of those coaches and have a conversation.”
For now, coaching basketball will be her passion at Morse. However, having coached track and field hockey at Mt. Blue, as well as field hockey and softball at Maranacook, more athletes may come in contact with Paradis down the road, with the passion for sports in her blood. In the offseason, she works as a youth coordinator in Biddeford as well as with the Maine STYX field hockey program.
“I am real excited to get after it, coach at Morse, and see that enthusiasm that Morse is famous for,” Paradis said. “I enjoy getting youth excited about athletics, and I am looking forward to continuing that at Morse.”