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When he was looking for a replacement for longtime girls' soccer coach Rob Brule, who recently retired after 20 seasons, Waterford High School athletic director Dave Sousa didn't have far to go.
Chris Ghiglia, a former Waterford assistant under Brule and the St. Bernard School girls' coach for the last eight seasons, is a math teacher at Clark Lane Middle School in Waterford.
Waterford is the defending Class M state champion.
"From a logistical point of view it was easy, but it was a really hard decision," Ghiglia said Tuesday. "Emotionally, I'm attached to St. Bernard. My poor wife (Christine) had to listen to me going back and forth, back and forth."
"We're extremely fortunate to have someone of his quality waiting for his chance," Sousa said. "I've known (Ghiglia). I've known of him. He can coach. We're very excited. He has a great demeanor with the girls."
Ghiglia led St. Bernard to a 16-5 record last season with a Class S semifinal berth and what was the Saints' third straight Eastern Connecticut Conference Small Division title. Under Ghiglia, St. Bernard went to the semifinals three times and reached the 2008 state championship game.
His prior coaching tenure under Brule at Waterford (2003-05) encompassed the career of Lancers' All-American Katie Schoepfer.
"It's a fantastic program, maybe the first really dominant program in the ECC and now there are a lot of great programs," Ghiglia said of Waterford, where he will meet with his new players after school today. "It's one of the benchmark programs in the area."
Brule was a 243-game winner at Waterford, which has won ECC titles in 13 of the last 15 seasons.