For his first football coaching job in eight seasons, Paul Withee is excited to be going home. A 1977 graduate of Madison Area Memorial High School, Withee was named head football coach at the school earlier this week.

“This is my roots and my base. This is where my love for football started,” Withee said, citing his coaches at Madison, John Wolfgram and John Krasnavage as influences.

Withee replaces Scott Franzose, who stepped down after seven seasons as the Bulldogs head coach to accept the same position at Mt. Blue High School in Farmington. Last fall, Madison went 5-5, advancing to the Campbell Conference Class D semifinals, where it lost in overtime to Oak Hill.

“We’re very excited to have (Withee) here,” Madison athletic director Chris LeBlanc said. “With his experience and football reputation, we’re excited to have him on board.”

Withee previously spent 19 years as head coach at Foxcroft Academy in Dover-Foxcroft, winning Class C state championships in 1996, 2003, and 2007, as well as seven Little Ten Conference titles. Withee last coached in 2011, when he was head coach at Oxford Hills. He resigned from that position in February, 2012, after accidentally posting a nude photo meant to be private on his Facebook page. At the time, Withee said he was embarrassed, ashamed, and humiliated  because of the mistake, and he reiterated those thoughts Thursday afternoon.

“I think a lot of school boards and administrators weren’t ready to take a chance on me,” Withee said of his attempts to get back into coaching in recent years. “I’m just glad somebody was willing to take a chance.”

Under Franzose, the Bulldogs became adept at the pistol version of the spread offense, utilizing the quarterback as a primary runner as well as passer. Withee said he’s not sure what offense the team will run.

“That will depend on what we have for players. We can adjust to whatever,” Withee said, adding he expects the Bulldogs base defense will feature four linemen and four linebackers.

In the last few years, Withee served as an official to stay involved with football. As a substitute teacher in the Madison school system, he comes in familiar with some of the players. Withee said he’s already met with players at both Madison and Carrabec high schools, the two feeder schools to the Bulldogs football program, as well as with prospective future players in middle and elementary school.

“I’m thankful for this opportunity,” Withee said.

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