Jeannine Paradis grew up in Biddeford, playing high school basketball under longtime coach Bill Harriman, and knows exactly what sports means to the city they call Tigertown.

Now she’ll finally get a chance to coach there.

Paradis, 45, has been hired as the new girls’ basketball coach at Biddeford High, replacing Katie Herbine and leaving Morse High in Bath after two seasons.

“I’m very excited,” said Paradis, a 1994 Biddeford graduate. “It was a really hard decision to leave Morse because I felt I was a hometown girl in that community. That’s how they made me feel.

“But this is a nice change. In all my years coaching, I’ve never actually coached in the community I live in until now. So I’m excited about that. And a lot of my former (Biddeford) classmates and teammates have children in the younger age groups, fifth or sixth grade, that I’m looking forward to mentoring and coaching.”

Biddeford Athletic Director Dennis Walton said Paradis – who was a three-sport athlete at Biddeford, then known as Jeannine Beaulieu – was the obvious choice.

“Jeannine was the full package,” he said. “She’s a tremendous person and has tremendous experience as a head coach. She’s from Biddeford, so she knows this community and what it stands for. And that means a lot to us. When we can bring those quality people home, it makes a lot of sense to us.”

Paradis had previously coached at Mt. Blue (2002-09) and Maranacook (2010-18, with a Class C South championship in 2015) before taking over at Morse in 2019. In her two years at Bath, the Shipbuilders won only one game, but she felt the program was heading in the right direction.

“The key was really to change the culture of what they were used to and having them buy into that,” said Paradis. “We wanted to get them feeling they could be successful even if the scoreboard didn’t indicate it. We wanted them to look like they wanted to be on the floor and to keep working hard despite the score. And I believe that was happening.

“The girls were buying into it it. They were looking for success and leadership. And that made me feel good, even though it was hard to leave.”

Paradis, who works as a medical social worker at Summer Commons, a long-term care center in Sanford, is taking over another rebuilding program as the Tigers have won only 19 games in the last five seasons. But Biddeford was also improving. In last winter’s COVID-19 truncated season, Biddeford won its last four games to finish 4-6.

She said she would not have left Morse for any other program. “It’s just time I come home,” she said.

Herbine left the Tigers because her family moved back to Bangor, where she had previously coached. “It was a good move, personally, but it was tough to leave Biddeford,” said Herbine, who was with the Tigers for five years. “I expect really big things from them. They have a great group of kids there.

“And I’m happy for Jeannine. She inherits a great group of kids and I know she can do some things with the younger kids coming up.”

Paradis is grateful for the foundation Herbine has laid.

“It’s refreshing to be able to go into a program that was also left by a coach that the community and kids loved,” said Paradis. “Coach Herbine was a wonderful role model. I’ve known her for years. I know this was a tough decision for her to leave but I’m glad to be the person to step in and try to implement what she was trying to do. And I hope to continue to get us to the next level. There are some great athletes in this program.”

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.