Greg Cumpstone resigns after three seasons at Hand

Greg Cumpstone had planned to be back for a fourth season coaching the Hand boys soccer team in addition to recently becoming the director of coaching for the Connecticut Rush.

But another recent opportunity arose to become a men’s assistant college coach. That led to Cumpstone resigning last week as the Tigers’ head man.

“It’s definitely bittersweet. I’ve loved every single second of being the Hand coach,” Cumpstone said. “Hand has great facilities and fantastic administrators to work for. For me, there is no step up in the high school ranks. I was never looking to leave, but some things did pop up.”

Cumpstone declined to mention where he is headed because an official contract has yet to be offered. But Cumpstone did say it is at an in-state college.

Hand won consecutive Class L state championships under Cumpstone, defeating Maloney in 2018 and Wilton in 2019. There were no CIAC state tournaments held last fall due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

But the Tigers did manage to go 11-0 this past fall, winning the SCC Division B tournament final over rival Guilford. They were led by GameTimeCT First Team all-state selections Scott Testori, also the National Player of the Year and the Gatorade State Player of the Year who will play at UConn, and Jason Wallack, who has committed to play at Monmouth.

“Scott is someone who always strove to improve every single day. It’s cliche, but he did that all the time,” Cumpstone said.

Cumpstone, 30, finished three seasons at 44-4-7. He was the Register’s Area Coach of the year in 2018.

He told his team Wednesday night about his decision to leave.

“When the (Hand) job opened up, it was the right time and the right place for me. It’s been wonderful,” Cumpstone said. “This is definitely something that came out of the blue. I would like to see where my ceiling is as a coach.”

Hand athletic director Craig Semple said the vacancy has been posted.

“Greg did an excellent job with our program,” Semple said. “He was the consummate professional. He prepared our student-athletes for success on the field and in the classroom. He was an outstanding role model and mentor. He will be missed.”

In what should be an opening that won’t lack for candidates, Cumpstone feels Liam Isleib, his top assistant all three seasons, would be a good fit.

“Liam knows the program, knows the boys and knows the culture and the DNA of the program. He’d be a great candidate,” Cumpstone said.

joseph.morelli; @nhrJoeMorelli