Tim Payne was officially named the Stonington High School boys' basketball coach on Thursday.
Stonington athletic director Bryan Morrone made the announcement via email.
"His successful experience in the ECC as a head coach at St. Bernard, coupled with his passion for coaching and education (teacher) will make for a great fit for the boys' basketball program," Morrone said.
Payne spent the last eight seasons coaching at St. Bernard.
"With the history that they've had the last eight years, they've had decent teams and decent players every single year," Payne said of making the change to Stonington. "It's a bigger school than St. Bernard and it was time for a change."
Payne, a teacher at Old Saybrook, met with his St. Bernard players on Wednesday to inform them of the news. He appreciated their support and will miss coaching at his alma mater.
"They're great kids," Payne said. "It's going to be tough to say goodbye to the place. It's going to be tough to say goodbye to the kids and the community. I had a lot of parents email me wishing me luck and thanking me for what I've done and I appreciate it."
Payne, who was one of seven applicants for the job, replaces Mike Reyes at Stonington. Reyes coached the Bears for six seasons before resigning in July to spend more time with his family.
Payne will meet with his new team some time in the next few weeks.
"I'm ready," Payne said. "I really am. I hope the kids are going to be happy also."
In an email, St. Bernard athletic director Brendan Case thanked Payne for his hard work and commitment to the basketball program.
"We wish him the best of luck in his coaching career and will begin a search for a new coach immediately."
- Gavin Keefe