Players on Massanutten Military Academy’s 2019-20 postgraduate boys basketball team report to the school’s Woodstock campus on Friday afternoon. They’ll do so, it turns out, without head coach Chad Myers.
Myers, who built MMA’s postgrad program into one of the nation’s best in five non-consecutive seasons at the school, confirmed on Thursday evening that he will depart Massanutten for a second time to take a head coaching job at IMG Academy in Florida.
Myers, who coached MMA from 2011-13 and again from 2016-19, took the Colonels to the National Prep Championship tournament in each of his five seasons, including the program’s first trip to the Final Four last season. He said MMA’s postgrad program, which was restarted upon Myers’ return in 2016 after a two-year absence, will continue this season under former assistant coach Curtis Peery.
While Myers said the timing of his departure is “not ideal,” he added that the entire process was one that developed quickly — within the last 10 days — when former IMG head coach Bob Walsh recently left for a college coaching job.
Myers said he informed MMA officials and incoming players of his decision this week.
“I felt like it was an opportunity to go to a place with just the resources and the place is just pretty much different from any other prep school in the country,” Myers said of IMG. “I just felt it was something I really just couldn’t turn down. It was a really hard decision just because of being at Massanutten and having the five really good years there, and the alumni and the guys having a chance to come back, and this year making the Final Four. I just felt like my next step, wanting to have a chance to win a national title, all that stuff, just everything resource-wise and facility-wise and the setup for our guys was just kind of unmatched. It was really hard to turn down the situation.”
Of the timing of his announcement, Myers said his leaving now allows Peery, who coached under Myers last season, to take over the reins of a program whose roster is already built for the upcoming season. Had Myers left in April, for example, Peery would’ve been tasked with recruiting an entire postgrad roster in a few month’s time.
Myers, who has had numerous players go on to NCAA Division I schools while at Massanutten said some of MMA’s incoming players were “shocked” to hear that he was leaving just days before they report.
“Some were probably a little upset but we try to sell, obviously myself and all that stuff, but we try to sell the day-to-day aspects of Massanutten and the good things that can help you as a school, the things that they’re gonna get out of the program and the time in the gym,” Myers said. “I think they realize that they still have a great opportunity coming to Massanutten, so think that’s one thing that we tried to reinforce when we told them.”
Myers added that “all signs point to” MMA wanting to keep the postgraduate program going.
“I think they’re really excited where it’s at right now,” said Myers, whose Colonel teams went 62-8 over the past two seasons.” For me, we left it in a better place than where we found it. There was no program when I came back and then we went to the national tournament Elite Eight and then the Final Four. It’s grown a lot, and the last two years have been really good. Both teams were 30-4, so I think it’s in a great place, a great place financially, and I think the school has got more students than they’ve had in the past coming in. I think everything’s in a better situation than it was a couple years ago.”
The allure of coaching at IMG — Myers said he’ll head the academy’s “National” postgrad team, the main one of the two postgrad basketball programs that school has — was too big a pull to keep Myers in Woodstock.
IMG, an academy known for its facilities and success across multiple sports, offered an intriguing opportunity for the Roanoke native.
“It’s a sports place where every student is an athlete,” Myers said. “It’s sports-driven and that’s the main thing. With that being said, they have every resource, your own strength coaches, your own mental coaches, your own nutritionists. Each team has a trainer. Everything’s set up like a college program.
“They also do a lot of NBA pro training, so their thought is maybe we can get these guys that instead of going overseas, if they don’t go to college, they will go to a place like IMG because the training of the pro athletes, the pre-draft stuff is already set up there. It’s a fully sponsored Under Armour and Gatorade school.”