PORTLAND — If the McAuley girls’ basketball program handles its recent coaching change the way it did challenging situations on the floor this past winter, Billy Goodman is in for an ideal situation.

Goodman, a longtime Deering assistant and for the past three winters, head girls’ coach at Greely, was named McAuley’s coach Friday, filling the vacancy opened three weeks ago when Amy Vachon stepped down to take an assistant’s job at the University of Maine, her alma mater.

All parties are positive about Goodman’s addition.

“I’m really excited,” said Allie Clement, who just wrapped up a freshman year which saw her emerge as one of the state’s elite point guards. “I’m sure he’ll be a great coach. I know him pretty well. He’s worked with my Firecracker AAU team. I think he’ll coach us to compete with anybody. Hopefully, we’ll get back to business.”

“I think it’s good,” said Alexa Coulombe, the soon-to-be-senior and state’s premier post player. “I like his coaching style. He knows the game well. Amy leaving was hard, but everyone adjusted well. We’re ready to go. We made it work last year with a new coach. We can do it again.”

Goodman said he is “fired up” for the new opportunity.

“McAuley basketball is a family and being a part of a family was one of the things that appealed to me the most,” Goodman said. “I’m a basketball coach and I’m willing to put the time into it. I won’t rock the boat. Hopefully it’s an easy transition.”

McAuley athletic director Joe Kilmartin said he had several candidates, although not as many as last time, and that Goodman stood apart.

“I think he’s a good choice,” said Kilmartin. “I liked him to begin with. He has the background. He lives for basketball. He’s always talking about it. Amy worked with him and they have the same basics that the girls can relate to.”

Goodman is a 1987 graduate of Deering High School. He played golf at Western New England. He’s coached golf at his alma mater since 2001, leading the Rams to Class A championships in 2002 and 2008. He was an assistant coach under Mike D’Andrea on Deering’s 2004 and 2008 girls’ basketball championship teams.

Goodman was named Forecaster Coach of the Year in the fall of 2008 and winter of 2008-09.

Goodman spent three years at Greely, going 51-11 and reaching the Western B Final three times. Goodman’s teams were no match for powerhouse York, losing to the Wildcats in the playoffs each of his years, but he did a stellar job with that program and showed his loyalty to the Rangers twice.

Just after becoming Greely’s coach in 2008, Goodman’s dream job, Deering, came open, but he stayed in Cumberland. When the McAuley position was available in 2010, Goodman again elected to say with the Rangers. He left Greely last month.

“My time at Greely was great,” said Goodman, who said he also applied at Westbrook prior to landing the McAuley position. “I miss those players. The girls worked hard. They were all great kids.”

Goodman had Vachon as an assistant coach for two seasons and doesn’t expect that McAuley followers will notice dramatic changes.

“I love to play fullcourt basketball,” Goodman said. “I like to do what we did at Deering, play hardnosed defense and if the offense is there, it’s a bonus. Watching McAuley last year, they were defense-first too.”

Goodman was planning to meet with the players this week. The summer basketball season begins Monday.

‘We lost Rebecca Knight to UMaine, but we have Allie and Alexa and Sadie (DiPierro) back,” Goodman said. “It’s a question of who steps up to fill roles. Hopefully we’ll get used to each other this summer.”

Goodman said he plans to retain the current McAuley lineup of assistant coaches.

Goodman, his wife, Jodie, and their two children live in Falmouth.

Sports Editor Michael Hoffer can be reached at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter: @foresports.

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New McAuley girls’ basketball coach Billy Goodman.