The Texas High School Coaches Association (THSCA) has issued a stern warning to its membership about IMG Academy’s encroachment into the state. In the February edition of “Texas Coach” magazine, association president Glen West stated the private school based in Bradenton, Florida, could “destroy our profession.”
“At the current moment, IMG Academy has actively recruited three of our top Texas high school football players to play their senior season for their traveling football team,” he wrote. “The reason given for these young athletes to attend this academy is to better prepare for the next level of competition. I adamantly disagree with the reasoning.”
West later clarified his position in a telephone interview. He stated his letter did not solely target IMG but all schools similar to the private academy. However, West mentioned only IMG by name in his message.
IMG does not hold full membership in the Florida High School Athletic Association and does not participate in postseason competition. Many in the coaching profession consider it to be more of a business than a school.
Two of the Texas transfers referenced in West’s letter are Kellen Mond and Jhamon Ausbon, both commits to Baylor in 2017. Last season, Mond quarterbacked at San Antonio Reagan, and Ausbon played wide receiver at Houston St. Thomas.
Sophomore Ndoma-Ogar, who played offensive lineman in 2015 on Allen’s junior varsity squad, also transferred to the Florida prep school. The former Eagle prospect (6-3, 270 pounds) cited IMG’s preparatory aspects as the reason for his relocation.
“It was a very difficult decision for my family and I, but IMG presented an opportunity that we felt would benefit me both academically and athletically,” Ndoma-Ogar tweeted.
West, who has served as head coach 24 years at Kemp and Brenham, also urged Texas high school coaches not to schedule teams similar to IMG in the future. DeSoto played the Ascenders last fall, losing 47-29. No Texas high schools have booked contests with IMG in 2016, and Eagles head coach Todd Peterman has stated DeSoto will not schedule the school in the future.
“It’s not necessarily against IMG, it’s just for years in the state of Texas we have been the advocate for our kids, where the college coaches come through and it’s been a really good situation for hundreds of years,” West told the Dallas Morning News. “The idea of athletes being raised through your program in your community, being part of your community, until later in their career (they) think they need to go to a specialist, we don’t agree with that.”
IMG’s forays into Texas may cause the state’s high school coaches to reconsider playing high profile, out-of-state private schools. Last season, Euless Trinity defeated De La Salle from Concord, California, 26-21, in a contest televised on ESPN2.
However, Allen’s recently hired head coach Terry Gambill cancelled a game with Las Vegas Bishop Gorman scheduled for next fall. The Gaels will open the season against Cedar Hill and planned to play back-to-back contests in Texas.