IMG Academy names Steve Walsh new football director
and Kevin Wright head football coach
Today IMG Academy named Steve Walsh Director of Football and Kevin Wright Head Football Coach. Walsh enjoyed an 11-year career as an NFL quarterback before turning to coaching, while Wright has built an impressive coaching legacy among the high school ranks in Indiana.
A first-round pick of the Cowboys in the NFL’s 1989 supplemental draft, Walsh spent 11 years in the NFL, most notably with the Saints and Bears. He enjoyed a prolific college career with the University of Miami; in his two seasons as starting quarterback the team went 23-1 and won the National Championship in 1987. The following year, Walsh was an AP All-American, setting a single season touchdown pass record at Miami, and finishing fourth in the Heisman Trophy race. After his NFL career, Walsh, a finance major, entered the mortgage banking business in 2001. He returned to his passion for football in 2009 when he was named head varsity football coach of Cardinal Newman High School (West Palm Beach, Fla.). There he reenergized the program and led them to the state playoffs the past five seasons. During his tenure at Cardinal Newman, Walsh was approached with a number of opportunities to coach at a higher level including the NFL.
“After six great seasons with Cardinal Newman [High School], I am looking forward to this next challenge with IMG Academy,” remarked Walsh. “It’s exciting to be able to share my high school, collegiate and professional playing and coaching experiences with these student-athletes, while also assisting IMG in continuing to attract and develop talented players of all levels from around the world.”
Wright spent the past five seasons as top-ranked Carmel (IN) High School’s head coach. With Carmel, he oversaw a tradition-rich program ranked as high as no. 19 in USA Today’s Super 25 national high school football rankings. He led his team to three state championship finals, claiming the Class 6A title in 2011 when his team ended the year ranked no. 8 in the country (USA Today). Prior to joining Carmel, Wright served as Western Kentucky University’s offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach while leading the school’s transition into Division IA. Before his collegiate time, Wright coached at national high school powers like Tulsa Union, Indianapolis Warren Central and Louisville Trinity. With Warren, Wright’s squad won three-straight Class 6A state championships and was ranked in the top-25 for four consecutive years. Overall as a head high school football coach, Wright has taken home two dozen ‘coach of the year’ awards, made six state final appearances that resulted in four championship titles, and averaged 10+ wins per season for the past 15 years. He has coached eight NFL players and more than 80 Division I athletes over the years.
“I’m looking forward to joining a young, exciting program at IMG Academy after five enjoyable seasons with Carmel [High School],” remarked Wright. “It’s particularly attractive to join a program founded on the principle that’s long been at the core of everything I live by as a coach – developing young leaders who can find as much success in the classroom and in their community as they can on the field. I’m eager to contribute to IMG’s building of a proud legacy similar to the one my family has contributed to for half a century within the state of Indiana.”
IMG Academy Offensive Coordinator E.G. Green has been promoted to Assistant Head Coach. Green, an all-American wide receiver at Florida State and Sugar Bowl MVP, spent several years with the Indianapolis Colts before returning to Florida and turning to coaching.
“Steve and Kevin, in conjunction with E.G. and our incredible staff, will make a formidable team, creating opportunities for players at all levels of the game who are looking to maximize their potential,” remarked Greg Phillips and Chip McCarthy, Co-Managing Directors, IMG Academy. “Their understanding of what it takes to develop a complete student-athlete and their unwillingness to compromise academic growth and character development for success on Friday nights is what sets them apart.” While Walsh will focus more on overall football program development, including camps, events and collegiate/professional training opportunities, Wright will lead the Academy’s football teams. IMG Academy’s young program achieved great success in its first two varsity seasons (9-2; 10-1, respectively), and enters its third with a talented roster of student-athletes teeming with Division I offers.
Walsh and Wright have both relocated to Bradenton in April.