By Ken Morse, Citizen’s News
BRISTOL — Naugatuck resident Joe Campos and former Naugatuck High assistant football coach Ollie Gray have joined the coaching ranks at St. Paul Catholic High School in Bristol.
School officials announced this month that Campos has been hired as the boys soccer head coach.
“I’m excited to welcome a new head coach whose soccer acumen and leadership will create a strong foundation for the program to excel for years to come,” St. Paul athletic director Dave Dennehy said in a news release.
Campos, who has over a 30 years of experience coaching soccer, coached the boys team at Sacred Heart High School in Waterbury last season. The school closed this spring.
Campos led the Hearts to an 8-2-2 mark a year after the team went 4-10-2.
“I thought we were on our way with Sacred Heart last year turning it around,” Campos said. “We were headed in the right direction and that’s what I’m looking to do at St. Paul. I feel very confident that we can be competitive.”
St. Paul went 2-6 mark last year in a campaign cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I see strong support from the administration and I’m looking forward to being competitive in the NVL,” Campos said. “They had ten other coaches to interview, but I was comfortable with their support and it turned out that I was the right fit for them.”
Campos guided the U19 Naugatuck Legends boys team to the Connecticut Cup state championship in 2014, and was named the Connecticut Junior Soccer Coach of the Year in 2015.
That led to his first high school head coaching position at the former Chase Collegiate School in Waterbury in 2015. Campos guided Chase to a 10-4-2 mark after the team went winless the year before.
In 2019, he led the Highlanders to their first Housatonic Valley Athletic League championship since 2007 and was named the Connecticut Prep School Soccer coach of the Year. Chase abruptly closed last summer.
Gray was named offensive coordinator for the Falcons’ football team under new coach Joe Cianciolo.
Gray was an assistant head coach and offensive coordinator for three years under former Naugatuck head coach Dave Sollazzo. The Greyhounds made the state playoffs in 2017 and 2018.
Gray was interim head coach for the Greyhounds after Sollazzo resigned last June and guided Naugatuck through the pandemic-canceled season. He has over 30 years of coaching experience and knows the NVL, spending time as an assistant coach at Crosby, Torrington and Sacred Heart.
“I was a little disappointed that I didn’t get the opportunity to finish what I started at Naugatuck, especially after such a tough year getting the season cancelled,” Gray said.
Naugatuck hired former Woodland football coach Chris Anderson to lead the Greyhounds.
Gray said he got a call saying there was a new coach at St. Paul looking for an offensive coordinator.
“After I met with the new coach and athletic director I told them I wanted to pray about it,” he said. “I just felt when God closes one door he opens another, and now it’s time to move on to the next chapter.”