Glen West knows football. He’s the president of the Texas High School Coaches Association, an official and a coach and athletic director at Brenham High School northwest of Houston. And he’s concerned.
In a letter published in Texas Coach magazine, West warns public school coaches to be wary of sports-focused private high schools he worries may “destroy our profession,” specifically naming Florida’s IMG Academy.
According to ABC News, West accused IMG of recruiting top football players from Texas to play their senior seasons at the school. He makes suggestions to public coaches about how to keep their players from defecting, going as far as to say public schools should refuse to play IMG.
“If someone is going to take my children, I don’t want them coming and playing in my backyard,” West told AP. “And I don’t want them paying me to use my facilities so that they can get them.”
IMG Academy bills itself as an “athletic college preparatory experience,” and offers eight sports. The school started competing in football three seasons ago, and has drawn attention from high-profile college programs and coaches. The 500-acre campus in Bradenton, Fla., will host four Michigan practices in the spring.
Eighteen IMG football players from last year’s team signed with college football programs.
West says that the allure of IMG and similar schools is “elitist” training experience, but feels that public programs offer an experience just as good.
“We feel like we have a very good product that’s proven, and we think our coaching staffs – we would put them up against anybody in the nation,” West said. “I think you get the best coaching you can get right here in our high schools in Texas.”