Posted: 3:20 pm Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

Oxbridge Academy hires Doug Socha to coach its fledgling football program 

By Jeff Greer

Former American Heritage football coach Doug Socha bounced back quickly from his abrupt June resignation from one of the nation’s top small-school football programs.

Socha was 22-5 with two trips to the state championship game in two seasons at American Heritage.

Oxbridge Academy, a small-but-growing private school in West Palm Beach, has hired Socha to lead its fledgling football program. Practices at the school began Monday, and Oxbridge plans to “phase in” the program over the next year or so.

Athletic Director Craig Sponsky is out of work for the remainder of week, tending to a family emergency, but text on Oxbridge’s website explains the building plan for the football team.

“In the initial year we will focus on the teaching and learning of football fundamentals,” the football page says. “We will start with non-contact, and gradually phase in contact and intensity. When the coaches and trainers feel we are prepared for full contact against opponents, we will schedule controlled scrimmages. When we are prepared we will gradually move to full game conditions.”

Socha told ESPN 760, which first reported his hire, that the school hoped to start playing junior-varsity games as early as October. In the meantime, Socha’s focused on building his staff and working toward varsity football.

Socha left Heritage under a cloud of controversy, six months after coaching the Stallions to a Class 3A state championship, citing personal reasons without going into any detail. Speculation about his job prospects was rampant after his departure, with rumors linking him to UCF and St. Andrew’s, but the 36-year-old Socha indicated in several interviews that he’d take this fall off from coaching football.

He was 22-5 over two seasons at American Heritage, leading Heritage to the state-title game both years. He’s known for his no-huddle spread offense, with zone blocking and option-read principles. Most of his coaching staff remained at Heritage after his departure.

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