Chris Weinke, the former Florida State Seminoles Heisman Trophy winner who had been living in Austin and spending most of his time golfing since his NFL career ended in 2007, is getting involved in football again. The 37-year-old just was named the director of the new IMG Madden Football Academy in Bradenton, Fla.; it launches in a few months. The program's curriculum will consist of John Madden's teachings and coaching philosophy and is aimed at football players from ages 8-18. It's an interesting move for both the former college star and for IMG. Ever since Weinke finished his career with the San Francisco 49ers, there has been speculation about what a good coach he'd make for some college looking for a sharp, young offensive mind. On Thursday morning, Weinke spoke about the period of time just after he retired. He wanted to get away from football to see how much he would miss the game. It didn't take him long to realize that coaching was calling him. Last year, while in Tallahassee for a Florida State football game, he ran into Trevor Moawad, who is the performance director for IMG and has worked as a consultant to Nick Saban and the Jacksonville Jaguars. Weinke explained how he wanted to get into coaching, and not long after that he came back to Florida for an interview with IMG. Turned out it was a good fit. IMG, which has academies for a host of other sports at its sprawling Bradenton campus and was founded in 1978 by legendary tennis coach Nick Bollettieri, was looking for someone whose approach to football was in sync with Madden's. Weinke flew out to California and spent a day with the football icon. "The most important thing was 'How does his philosophy fit into what we're trying to accomplish here?' and it aligned perfectly," Weinke said. "Both of us feel like the most important thing is teaching the basic fundamentals of the game, and the kids could have a lot of fun with it." "Coach Madden is definitely not a drill sergeant. His first thought is he wants the kids to have fun and teaching the basic fundamentals. Some would say that has been lost in recent years. He's very similar to coach [Bobby] Bowden in their approach. They both want kids to have fun."
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