Stonington's Payne resigns

One day after his team defeated Bacon Academy 58-56, first-year Stonington High School boys' basketball coach Tim Payne resigned Wednesday, athletic director Bryan Morrone confirmed.

According to multiple sources, Payne's resignation stemmed from an inappropriate comment Payne allegedly directed toward a player. Payne could not be reached for comment.

"He resigned for personal reasons," Morrone said. "It was his decision. He came in with a letter of resignation this morning. It all happened pretty quick. … We're going to move forward."

Morrone said junior varsity coach Matt Rollins and volunteer assistant Kevin Dipollino will coach the Bears, although Morrone said he's seeking a "possible interim coach."

Stonington, following the win over Bacon, is 7-4.

Payne was previously the boys' coach at St. Bernard for eight seasons before being hired at Stonington this year.

He is a 1997 St. Bernard graduate who played basketball for three years in high school before tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. He played golf at Assumption College and Sacred Heart University. Payne is a special education teacher at Old Saybrook High School.

One parent of a Stonington player, who did not wish to be identified, said the news that Payne resigned was "a total shock this morning," while Bacon Academy coach Kevin Fennell said there were no incidents he knew of involving Payne and his players during Tuesday night's game.

"With the history that they've had the last eight years, they've had decent teams and decent players every single year," Payne told The Day upon being hired at Stonington. "… It's a bigger school than St. Bernard and it was time for a change."

Payne was one of seven applicants for the job, replacing Mike Reyes, who coached the Bears for six seasons before resigning last July to spend more time with his family.


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