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IMG Academy’s Secret to Success

Similar to Stevenson, IMG is a boarding school with bustling campus activities such as spikeball depicted above. However, what separates IMG from the rest is their ability to intricately integrate sports into their academics.    

In 1978, IMG was not the elite institution it is today. Nick Bollettieri, a tennis coach and father of seven, elevated the definition of coaching. By opening a tennis academy that became a boarding school, he merged two of the most important aspects of youth development: academics and athletics. 

“At IMG Academy, we strive to serve the needs of the whole learner and are devoted to providing an eclectic approach to learning. We want our scholars to be challenged and have the opportunity to explore their interests and build upon their passions, while continuing to learn and grow,” says current IMG head of school and former NFL player Michael Lehan. As a player at the highest level, Lehan understands the stress that comes with sports and the benefits that education can provide in tandem with your performance:

“The reality is that we have been developing an all-encompassing approach to education and personal development for decades, through the unique and inspiring lens of sport.” 

IMG alum and 24th overall NBA 2018 draft pick Anfernee Simons states that his switch from public high school to IMG academy was one of the best decisions he made. He claims, “At IMG, you develop the instinct to work all the time. And you see the results in all the athletes that come out of the school,” noting that IMG’s weight room routine and dedication for excellence helped him grow tremendously. 

Even 7’7” phenom Olivier Rioux (the tallest teenager on the planet) chose IMG to develop the “little things” in his basketball game. He simply repeats the reminder “bend those knees and grab with two hands” to himself every practice and continues to work on his fundamentals as he looks towards the NBA draft. 

Oliver Rioux, the world’s tallest teenager at 7’7”, is triple the size of this kid.

Overall, IMG is a terrific option for aspiring athletes to pursue their sports at the highest level. With a 4-1 student-to-teacher ratio in the classroom and an extensive recruiting platform (called NCSA: Next College Student Athlete), its students can develop tangible skills on and off the athletic grounds as they translate their academic knowledge into a successful future.

Located in Bradenton, Florida, IMG houses some of the best facilities in the nation. Above is the football locker room.


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