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Ray Reid takes leave of absence from UConn men’s soccer program

At this time, it’s unclear how long the 24-year coaching veteran will be away from the team after stepping aside to handle a family matter.

Ian Bethune/The UConn Blog

In today’s ‘whoa’ moment for UConn sports, men’s soccer head coach Ray Reid announced that he will take an indefinite leave of absence from the program due to a personal family matter. Associate head coach Mike Miller will assume immediate head coaching duties until Reid returns.

“Our thoughts are with Ray and his family, and we look forward to Ray returning to the sidelines as soon as he is ready,” director of athletics David Benedict said in a statement on Monday.

The story was first broken by Erik Dobratz of News 8 in New Haven.

There’s no denying that this is a bombshell. Reid sports a 305-126-61 record in 24 seasons at UConn, including a national championship in 2000. The Huskies have captured four Big East tournament championships under Reid and 41 alumni have been drafted in the MLS.

To put Reid’s success into a broader context, the Huskies have 18 NCAA tournament appearances in those 24 seasons. He’s a four-time NSCAA coach of the year who, prior to his arrival at UConn, turned Division II Southern Connecticut into a national powerhouse. His entire winning percentage is good for eighth all-time among NCAA coaches. The list of accolades could go on for days.

More recently, however, the program has sputtered. Their last trip to the NCAA tournament was in 2018 and they haven’t advanced to the tournament’s quarterfinals since 2013. Now of course that’s an incredibly high bar for success, and just goes to show how dominant Reid made UConn in the first decade of the millennium. To underscore Reid’s impact, UConn soccer consistently ranks number one in the country in attendance.

In 2019, Reid suffered his first-ever losing season in Storrs, going 5-12-1 in what would be the program’s last year in the American Athletic Conference.

On Saturday, the Huskies were handed a 2-0 loss to Providence and now stand at 1-1 on the young season.

In to pick up the pieces is Miller, who boasts an impressive resume of his own. Now entering his fifth year with UConn, Miller has had success at notable college soccer powerhouses the Duke, Syracuse, and the University of Evansville, as well as a stint as a professional scout for Sporting Kansas City in the MLS, in which he played a role in reeling in Gianluca Busio to the team, the second-youngest MLS signee all-time.

There’s no doubt that Reid made Connecticut soccer — not just UConn — nationally relevant. It’s also no secret that the program has struggled to attain that high watermark of success in recent years. Hopefully, Reid and his family are okay, and he’ll be back with the team soon. In the meantime, UConn soccer fans can get behind Miller with the same vigor they’ve shown in the stands over the last 30 years.