SOURCE: IMG Academies

IMG Academies

January 25, 2010 11:00 ET

IMG Academies, National High School Coaches Association Reach Deal to Create First-Ever Official High School National Championships

Tournament-Style Football, Golf, Lacrosse and Tennis Team National Championships Begin at the Bradenton-Based Academy in Summer 2010, With More Sports to Follow

BRADENTON, FL--(Marketwire - January 25, 2010) - IMG Academies and the National High School Coaches Association have signed a deal that will help dispel the annual debate of which state produces the nation's best athletic teams and players by creating official High School National Championships.

Tournament-style team championships for 7-on-7 football, 7-on-7 lacrosse, boys' and girls' team tennis, and boys' and girls' team golf will begin at the Bradenton-based Academy in summer 2010, with plans for possible national television coverage and expansion to national championships for 20 sports in upcoming years.

"Our parent company, IMG Worldwide, has a long history of producing athletic events and has represented an innovative force in developing college sports," said Sam Zussman, Managing Director of IMG Academies and Senior Vice President of IMG Worldwide. "Similarly, together with the NHSCA, we are committed to developing the type and level of national championships that high school athletes deserve. At IMG Academies, we have been helping develop high school athletes for more than 30 years and have the facilities and knowledge to make these events highly successful."

Modeled after the same bracket-style format that makes the NCAA men's basketball March Madness and the College World Series so successful, the national championships will consist of All-Star teams chosen by successful coaches in each state. The 7-on-7 football teams will earn a spot through nationwide qualifiers. The coaches of the top-ranked golf, lacrosse and tennis teams in each state will earn the right to choose players to represent their state in the national championship.

"We see this as a great opportunity for the 10 million-plus high school athletes and their families who put a tremendous amount of time, effort and passion into their sports each year," said George Pyne, President of IMG Sports and Entertainment. "This relationship with the NHSCA will give the best athletes and teams in the nation the recognition and visibility they so richly deserve."

Currently, the NHSCA holds national championships for 7-on-7 football, weightlifting and wresting. The NHSCA plans to organize national championships for baseball, basketball, cross country, hockey, soccer, softball, track and field, and other sports in upcoming years.

"We are thrilled to be bringing our national high school championships to IMG Academies," said Bob Ferraro Jr., Executive Director of the National High School Coaches Association. "This is all part of our strategy to have 20 national championships for 20 high school sports. We have found a great partner in IMG Academies and look forward to the creation and development of national championship events."

About IMG Academies

IMG Academies is the world's foremost authority in athletic, academic and personal development. Consisting of the IMG Bollettieri Tennis Academy, IMG Leadbetter Golf Academy, IMG Performance Institute, and IMG Baseball, Basketball and Soccer academies, the 350-acre, Bradenton, Fla.-based Academy attracts more than 12,000 dedicated athletes from approximately 80 countries every year.

About the National High School Coaches Association

Founded in 1989, the National High School Coaches Association is a not-for-profit 501c3 service organization providing support and leadership programs for the nation's 500,000 high school coaches and 10 million high school athletes.

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