One year off was enough for Paul Marquis.
Less than a year after he resigned as the boys’ soccer and girls’ basketball coach at Traip Academy in Kittery, Marquis was hired recently as the girls’ basketball coach at Noble High in North Berwick.
“It was a great opportunity last year to recharge my batteries,” said Marquis, who will continue to teach chemistry at Traip. “Sometimes maybe you get a little stale and need to be recharged, whether you’re teaching and need your summer vacation or taking a year off from coaching.
“Really, I had been straight out (coaching) since 1994. Now I’m really looking forward to November and getting back in the gym again.”
Marquis, 41, was one of the best-known and most successful Western Maine Conference coaches for years with the Rangers. His boys’ soccer team won the 2006 Class C state championship and his girls’ basketball teams were perennial contenders, reaching six straight regional semifinals. He also coached baseball and softball at Traip for several years, making him a rare three-sport coach.
He resigned last year because of what he called “philosophical differences” with the direction the school’s athletic program was taking. He still attended many games and when the opening came up at Noble, about 20 minutes from Kittery, he jumped at the chance.
Noble Athletic Director Blair Marelli said Marquis stood out among the dozen candidates.
“It was a combination of his personality, his expertise and his success,” said Marelli. “He has an energy about him, this way of conveying that energy to others. It’s contagious and I think other people will feed off him.”
Marquis inherits a program that totaled six wins and 66 loses over the last four seasons. Last winter the Knights were 0-18.
“One priority is to get excitement around the program again, to get the numbers up,” said Marquis. “I don’t think Noble is unique in that the activity levels, the number of students playing sports, have dropped. If I can drum up interest, that’s a start.
“And this is a program that has good support, its communities are excited about being successful. I’m hoping it doesn’t take a long time. If I can get the kids excited, get them playing competitively night in and night out, it will be a great start.”
Marquis doesn’t expect to see much difference in moving from a Class C to a Class A school.
“Certainly the SMAA is a very competitive conference and I’ll be drawing from more kids,” he said. “But the schedule I played in the Western Maine Conference, with its combination of B and C schools, I would argue was one of the best in the state.”
Marelli doesn’t expect a turnaround to take long.
“That program has some of our best athletes in the school,” he said. “Seeing someone new, seeing a new direction, I think we’ll see success relatively quickly.
“He’s been able to do it before. We hope he can replicate it here.”