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Oxford's Feldman stepping away to join company

OXFORD -- After 10 years as the Oxford College head tennis coach/athletic director, Brandon Feldman is stepping away from the academic arena and joining corporate America.

But before Feldman joins Tennis Connection, a tennis facility management company, he will be the head pro at FishHawk Ranch in Lithia, Fla.

"In the back of our minds, my wife and I had always wanted to go back to Florida," Feldman said. "We always thought we would do it at some point, but we loved this area, loved the school. So it was really a hard choice. It's going to be hard to duplicate what we have here. But we thought it was a good enough opportunity that we had to go for it."

One of the many attributes that Feldman will be able to pass on to his younger students, many between 12-14 years of age, is the experience he has as a college head coach.

"I think I'll be able to offer them the college experience and the recruiting process to give more than a normal coach can. If I wasn't teaching there I'd be looking for them to play here," he said.

While Oxford's tennis coach, Feldman led the Eagles men's team to three National Junior College Athletic Association national championships and led the women's team to one title. The men won their championships in 2006, 2007 and 2009; the women brought home the title in 2011. The Eagles have also had a runner-up and third-place finish along with several top fives under Feldman.

"We've had All-Americans, academic All-Americans, and something that I'm really proud of is that we've had three Arthur Ashe national award winners. That's the top off-court honor you could get," Feldman said. "They give one in every division, we've had two of our men's players and one of our women's players earn that. That's a national championship that's voted on by coaches. I had a coach growing up that was coached by Arthur Ashe, so that's something that I really appreciated."

As the Eagles athletic director, Feldman has seen the men's basketball program grow to the point where it is competitive on a regular basis rather than being an automatic win for thei opponent. The women's soccer team has also become more competitive as well. But even as the athletic director, Feldman knows there's more to college sports than wins and losses.

"Academically, our student-athletes are getting better in the classroom along with the college on the whole," Feldman said. "We've always wanted our players to do better in the classroom than the average student."

Before heading off to other endeavors, Feldman also got the groundwork started to bring golf and cross country to Oxford College.

"Those are going to be the next two sports," he said. "It's definitely something that the school wants to do and I've wanted to do. I want us to grow to a couple more sports. Even if I'm not here, I would still do anything that I could to help out."

While ready for the challenges ahead of him, Feldman will always look back over the past 10 years with admiration. Some of his biggest joys at Oxford came with mentoring his tennis players. He also enjoyed other aspects of campus life, such as the midnight pancake breakfast before finals.

"I'm going to miss a bunch of things. We'd go through their academic life together and whatever happens with them off the court. I'm not going to have those 10 guys and 10 girls that I'll be mentoring. That's a big thing, being a part of something that's other than tennis," Feldman said. "I enjoyed all aspects of campus life.

"The administrative skills I've developed here I'll definitely use. I think my style of administration -- I'm very service-oriented -- translates well for me being here dealing with recruits or parents or faculty. It'll be good to serve my customers and clients better."