Tag Archives: IMG Academy

Remembering Mike DePalmer

Mike DePalmer — a 3-sport athlete in Staples High School’s Class of 1951, and a high school and college coach afterward — died Thursday in Knoxville, Tennessee. He was 86.

Few Westporters remember him. But in a way, he helped change youth sports in America forever.

In the 1970s — after coaching high school and college basketball and football in Florida — DePalmer and a partner established a tennis boarding school in Bradenton.

His partner was Nick Bollettieri. The DePalmer-Bollettieri Tennis Academy helped develop players like Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, Monica Seles and Mary Pierce.

In doing so, it popularized the notion that top athletes needed specialized schooling: hours of instruction a day, along with specialized fitness training, nutrition and more, while living away from home and attending boarding school.

Mike DePalmer

It’s unclear how long DePalmer was associated with the academy. But Bollettieri sold it to the sports and entertainment company IMG in 1987. The IMG Academy now includes golf, soccer, baseball, volleyball, football and lacrosse. There was a hockey program for a while too.

Thousands of youngsters attend; their parents pay tens, even hundreds of thousands of dollars, hoping they’ll be the next [insert name of your favorite athlete here].

Sports were much simpler when DePalmer played football, basketball and baseball at Staples. After 3 years in the Army, he joined the basketball team at Florida State University.

Following his partnership with Bollettieri, DePalmer served as head tennis coach and assistant athletic director at the University of Tennessee.

He was honored by many organizations, including the Sportsmen of Westport.

For Mike DePalmer’s full obituary, click here.

(Hat tip: Ben Sturner)

Staples Names New Football Coach

Adam Behrends was announced moments ago as the new head varsity football coach at Staples High School.

He replaces Phil Treglia. He resigned earlier this month to pursue opportunities closer to White Plains, where he lives and works as a guidance counselor.

Behrends joins Staples High School from IMG Academy in Florida. He has served as an assistant coach with the IMG Academy football program since 2010.

Adam Behrends

As an assistant coach with the IMG Academy national football team he coached all the skill position groups, and helped guide the development of dozens of top NCAA prospects and Division 1 All-American athletes.

Behrends has also made an impact with the IMG Academy pre-combine/draft training program, working with players like Seattle Seahawks and Super Bowl champion Russell Wilson, Minnesota Vikings’ Kirk Cousins, Pittsburgh Steelers’ Josh Dobbs, Tennessee Titans’ Ryan Tannehill, New Orleans Saints’  Teddy Bridgewater and New York Giants Kyle Lauletta.

“I am excited for the opportunity to coach at Staples,” Behrends says. “This community has a rare combination of academic and athletic excellence K-12, with a football program steeped in tradition.

“It has always been a goal of mine to lead a program where I could impact the lives of young men on and off the field. This includes collaborating with school educators and administrators, town officials, athletes and their families to advance the complimentary core values inherent in sports, academics and community. I am honored to be given the opportunity to lead the next chapter of Staples football. Go Wreckers!”

Staples High School athletic director Marty Lisevick adds, “Coach Behrends brings a wealth of football knowledge and experience to our football program. Coach Behrends’ passion and enthusiasm for the game of football is contagious. Our student-athletes, and entire community, are fortunate to have him as their head coach.”