John Madden is returning to the world of coaching.
Madden will be teaming with Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke and IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla., to launch the IMG Academy football program.
"This is one of those dreams that you have for a long time, to work with kids and have camps, and do those kinds of things," Madden said. "I think this is the perfect opportunity."
The IMG Academy football program will hold position-specific and all-purpose camps through the year, starting with Kickoff Weekend on June 4-6.
Madden said he is excited to return to his teaching and coaching roots.
“I’ve always enjoyed the teaching aspect of football,” said Madden, a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame. “The IMG Academy football program is a great opportunity to help youth players improve by teaching them the fundamentals of football.”
For Madden, the fundamentals of football will also include lessons in sportsmanship.
"Sportsmanship is big," he said. "Not that you can't celebrate, but I think some of that stuff has to be calmed down."
Teaching sportsmanship is in line with the IMG Academy football program's holistic vision of training, which includes the eight Athletic & Personal Development program disciplies: physical conditioning, mental conditioning, nutrition, vision, communication, college advantage, life sills and athletic regeneration.
Weinke, who will serve as the director of the Academy, trained at IMG Academy after winning a national championship as a quarterback at Florida State.
“As an athlete, I attended IMG Academy in preparation for the NFL Combine and realized there was no better structure and support system to help prepare you for any goal or aspiration,” Weinke said. "The athletes that come here leave better than when they showed up, and I'm a testament to that."
Since his last season in the NFL in 2007, Weinke has spent time tutoring and mentoring kids, but looks forward to gaining true coaching experience under Madden and the other coaches the Academy brings in.
"That's the unique part about my position," he said. "I've got one of the best coaches at my fingertips to help me along the way. We'll bring in some of the best college and NFL coaches, some of the best minds in the game. We'll make sure we're doing it the right way."
Madden, who said he will be indirectly involved in all aspects of the Academy, agreed that bringing in top-notch coaches and instructors is paramount.
"Helping to hire the teachers and coaches is important," Madden said. "I don't want someone that's a drill sergeant. I want someone that's a great teacher."
Throughout the summer, there will be week-long camps, as well as some specialty camps for various positions. Of particular interest to Madden are camps for linemen, a position that has traditionally been underserved in the realm of camps and combines.
"For big men, I'd like a camp just for those guys," said Madden, who mentioned the likes of former NFL offensive lineman Henry Lawrence and Anthony Munoz as the type of instructors he'd like to bring in.
The IMG Academy football program also plans to work closely with high school coaches, especially those close to its Bradenton headquarters to help prepare their players for the rigors of the high school football season.
"One of the big things I’ll do is reach out to local high school coaches and really work with them, to let them know our philosophy, and that when their kids come here, their best interest is the most important thing for us," Weinke said. "We want their kids to come here, and feel like at the end of the day, it will help their football team."