Zach Anspach is looking forward to getting a fresh start.
He’ll get that opportunity after Liberty Christian Prep announced recently that Anspach has been hired as the school’s new boys basketball coach.
Anspach takes over at Liberty Christian Prep after spending one season at Tavares, where he directed the Bulldogs to an 8-18 season. Among his victories with the Bulldogs was the team’s first win against Eustis in 10 years.
He was dismissed in February when the school’s administrative team decided to move its athletic program in a “different direction” and cited the fact his academic requirements were higher than the Florida High School Athletic Association’s minimum standards.
“I am very excited about the ability to build the program through a feeder system with a (kindergarten though 12th grade) setting,” Anspach said. “We have a varsity, junior varsity and middle school team here and will soon be looking to add an elementary school team. This way, student athletes and families here will grow up in our program.
“I’m grateful that Jeremy Thomas, Upper School Administrator at Liberty Christian, is willing to support a program that is based on toughness, intergrity, selflessness and hard work.”
Thomas confirmed Anspach’s hiring and said the school is looking forward to what he brings to the campus.
“We are excited to bring (Anspach) on as part of Liberty Christian Preparatory School’s faculty and coaching staff,” Thomas said. “Our expectation is for coach Anspach to be a positive influence to our students and be a mentor to our young men to help them grow, athletically and academically.”
Liberty Christian Prep competed in the Sunshine Independent Athletic Association last season. The Lions compiled an overall record of 6-11 last year and were 0-8 in the league play.
Two seasons ago, the Lions created a stir around the state and the country when one of their players was 7-foot-6 center Tacko Fall. After averaging 18.9 points and 9.8 rebounds per game as a senior, Fall signed a national letter of intent to play at the University of Central Florida.
Anspach, who will also teach social studies in Liberty Christian Prep’s Upper School, said his approach for his first season will be simple.
“We will be very young, but we will always give 100 percent effort and 100 percent enthusiasm in everything we do on and off the court,” Anspach said. “I realize that there is going to be a lot of work ahead, but I am optimistic that we will see a change in culture and indentity in the months, seasons, and years to come.
“There are great things ahead for (Liberty Christian Prep) basketball.”
Prior to getting his first head coaching post at Tavares, Anspach had a long tenure as an assistant coach at a variety of schools where he worked for some of the most successful programs in the state.
While an assistant, Anspach worked with three head coaches — Andy Colville at Tallahassee Godby, Marcel Thomas at Leesburg and Anthony Long at Orlando Dr. Phillips — that took teams to the FHSAA state championships at The Lakeland Center.
Anspach plans to begin the process of building his program at Liberty Christian Prep at 5 p.m. on Thursday, when he holds an “interest meeting” in the school gym. There, he will speak with parents and potential players. He also plans to begin summer workouts at the school on Monday and will lead the Lions to a summer camp at Florida Tech in July.
So far, he said, the change in schools has been a good one for him.
“The support and positive responses from the community and from coaches around the state (since word of his firing at Tavares) has been tremendous,” Anspach said. “I feel blessed to have a new opportunity and I cannot wait to get going. We will compete on the court, succeed in the classroom and carry ourselves in a positive manner throughout the community.
“Our tradition starts today.”