NEW LONDON, Conn. (AP) – New London football coach Jack Cochran resigned Tuesday after being charged this weekend with punching a rival coach.

Superintendent of Schools Christopher Clouet said Cochran has stepped down for the 2006 season and is to have “no contact with the football program,” The Day of New London reported on its Web site.

Cochran will remain a physical education teacher, Clouet said.

The 40-year-old Cochran allegedly punched Fitch coach James Buonocore Jr. in the mouth at a weightlifting event at East Lyme High School on Saturday. He was charged with breach of peace.

Members of both teams were taking part in the Eastern Connecticut Athletic Conference’s annual weightlifting competition. The argument apparently began inside the weight room and continued outside where Buonocore was allegedly struck.

Cochran was hired last year at New London, his alma mater, and led the Whalers to their first state championship game in 12 years.

He won seven state titles while coaching at Bloomfield and New Britain.

Cochran is scheduled to appear in New London Superior Court on Thursday.

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