Harry Watling resigns as Hartford Athletic coach, former UConn coach Ray Reid takes over in interim

Harry Watling resigns as Hartford Athletic coach, former UConn coach Ray Reid takes over in interim
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Hartford Athletic is looking for a new coaching staff after the resignation of Harry Watling late Saturday.

Ray Reid, the longtime men’s soccer coach at UConn and Southern Connecticut, will be the Athletic’s interim coach until a new one is hired. Reid joined the United Soccer League franchise May 13 as technical director.

Watling is returning to England to tend to family matters. Assistant coach Jack Davis also resigned.

“Coach Watling is a smart, young coach with a bright future ahead of him,” Reid said. “We are very disappointed he is leaving the club but understand he needs to do what’s best for him and his family. The search for a new head coach is underway. We will leave no stone unturned as we seek the best candidate to lead our club back to the playoffs.”

The Athletic, who next play Tuesday at Trinity Health Stadium in Hartford against Colorado Springs, are 3-3-9 in league play, 11th in the Eastern Conference, with a goal-differential of minus-8. The franchise is 34-48-15 in its history, making the playoffs in 2020.

Watling, 32, was 15-23-8 in 1 1/2 seasons at the helm.

“I would like to thank [owner] Bruce Mandell and the entire ownership group for giving me the opportunity to be the head coach of Hartford Athletic,” Watling said. “I’d also like to thank my players for giving me everything they had day in and day out over these two seasons. Thank you to the fans for making Hartford feel like home from the very beginning and creating one of the best environments I’ve ever seen in my time in football. It is a very difficult decision for me to leave the club, but I need to return to England to be with my family. Hartford will always hold a special place in my heart, and I wish the entire organization the best of luck the rest of the season and beyond.”

Reid, 62, won two NCAA Division II championships at SCSU, his alma mater, and a Division I title at UConn in 2000. He retired last year with a record of 394-97-61. Reid will be interviewing candidates between games and practices, and hopes to have a new coach in place within a few weeks.

Dom Amore can be reached at damore@courant.com.