About IMG Academy
What: IMG Academy is an athletic and educational sports academy based in Bradenton, Fla. The boarding school has a student enrollment of more than 1,000.
Origins: The Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy started in 1978. IMG, a sports and entertainment company, purchased the academy in 1987. In the 1990s and early 2000s, golf, soccer, baseball, basketball and hockey were added. Football, lacrosse, track and field and cross-country were added later, and hockey dropped. The boarding school was founded in 1999, and the name was changed to IMG Academy in 2012.
Team nickname: Ascenders
Local connections: Chris Weinke, the onetime Cretin-Derham Hall star who won the 1999 Heisman Trophy as a Florida State quarterback, was IMG’s football director and head coach from 2010 to ’14 before leaving to become quarterbacks coach of the St. Louis Rams, who moved to Los Angeles in 2016. Two members of the current coaching staff, defensive backs coach Antonio Banks and running backs coach Kenneth Stills, played for the Vikings.
Prominent alumni: Tennis stars Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova, Timberwolves guard Jimmy Butler, golfer Paula Creamer, NFL stars Cam Newton and Russell Wilson.