By: Ken LaVicka
Facing the prospect of igniting controversy by overshadowing this Thursday's mega-showdown between No. 1 American Heritage and 5th-ranked Dwyer, former Heritage head coach Doug Socha has decided to remove himself from his usual role as analyst on ESPN 760's “Football Night in South Florida” broadcast.
“High school sports are all about the student-athletes and thus, I believe, it is in the best interest of ESPN 760, American Heritage, and Dwyer for me not to call the game on Thursday,” said Socha, who is now the head coach at West Palm Beach up-start Oxbridge Academy. He has worked with ESPN 760 since August.
Socha coached the Stallions for two seasons, winning the 3A state championship in 2011. He also served as the school's athletic director. Socha suddenly left the institution in June, citing a desire to spend more time with his family and pursue other opportunities. His departure made him a polarizing figure on the school's Delray campus.
American Heritage and ESPN 760 were in contact several times in the past week, warning that Socha would be removed from the school's Delray campus if he showed up to call the contest.
ESPN 760 still hoped to have Socha participate in the broadcast, but he opted to sit Thursday out to keep the focus on the game, the first ever meeting between the two Palm Beach County super-powers.
“I would never want to be a distraction for the coaches and students who have worked tirelessly to earn this right to play on this kind of stage,” said Socha.
“American Heritage will always hold a special place in my heart and I will eternally be grateful for the amazing opportunity the school provided me both as an educator and a coach.”
A-H headmaster Bob Stone explained the school's position on Socha.
“Coach Socha resigned abruptly and the opinion here is having him back at American Heritage critiquing our team would be inappropriate, and a distraction, and not what our program wants. Additionally, he has been told and should be aware that he isn't permitted on our property. We are extremely excited to have ESPN 760 here for what should be a great game and we want to keep the focus on the field.”
Socha previously broadcasted American –Heritage’s victory earlier this season at Glades Central on ESPN 760.
Coverage of American Heritage-Dwyer begins Thursday at 7 p.m. on ESPN 760 and can be heard, and viewed, on ESPN760.com
via the station's iHigh feed
LISTEN TO DOUG SOCHA DISCUSS HIS DECISION WITH EVAN COHEN ON ESPN 760: CLICK HERE