Shadyside native Pyles lands job at IMG Academy
Josh Pyles is gainfully employed, but he never goes to work.
That is because the former Shadyside High grid standout has a job he can’t wait to get to each day.
Pyles is a fitness guru. He loves training athletes. Pyles, 28, has just landed a plum job in that realm.
This week, Pyles officially becomes an instructor at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. For those not familiar with IMG, it is the training facility for the nation’s premier athletes, regardless of sport or age.
It is the workout home for such greats as Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, RG III, Kobe Bryant, Cam Newton to drop just a few heavyweight names. The academy offers specialized training in all the major sports, as well as lacrosse, tennis and golf.
IMG is a haven for college football players prepping for the NFL draft, looking to become quicker, more agile and stronger. Geno Smith of WVU and Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o were just two of the dozens of gridders training at IMG prior to the pro draft.
Pyles will be rubbing elbows with some of pro sports elite.
“It is my dream job. It has what I have been preparing for and working for all my life,” Pyles said. “Fitness training is my passion and being able to do that at IMG is as good as it gets.”
Pyles has been training athletes and fitness-seekers at Total Athlete, a state-of-the-art complex in Triadelphia. He was also an instructor at a Washington, Pa. facility.
“IMG is a 420-acre complex, sponsored by Under Armour and home to the Gatorade Sports Science Institute,” Pyles said. “IMG trained 48 players who were invited to the NFL Combine and 33 of those got drafted, seven in the first round.
“It started out as a golf and tennis training facility. Now this fall, IMG will even have a high school football team, coached by former Heisman Trophy winner Chris Weinke,” he added. “I am overwhelmed and full of joy that all my hard work has paid off. IMG will afford me the opportunity to display all my talents as a coach and on a grand scale.”
Pyles earned his degree from Ohio University in exercise physiology. He spent a year in Florida working at various training centers before returning back to the Ohio Valley.
He is a nationally certified strength and conditioning coach, a distinction which places him among training elite. It will be a well-used tool as one of his duties at IMG will be developing speed and agility clinics for several NFL teams, including the Dolphins, Vikings and Bucs.
Speed development is his specialty.
While IMG is a dream come true for Pyles, he still will be pursuing a couple of other endeavors.
“I want to start pursuing my master’s degree in athletic administration from Ohio U.,” he noted. ” I also plan on returning to the Ohio Valley every 3-4 months putting on speeds camps.”
Pyles enjoyed a brilliant football career at Shadyside. The three-year regular was a tremendous wideout for the Tigers. His greatest claim to fame was, as a sophomore, he landed the game-winning touchdown in the waning seconds against Danville, propelling the Tigers to their first-ever regional grid title. That game is known as “The Miracle at Meadowbrook,” as Shadyside trailed 28-26 and had to go 88 yards in less than a minute.
“I need to thank a couple of people who helped make IMG become a reality for me,” Pyles said. “First, I am indebted to Dave Peluchette (Total Fitness owner and operator) for opening up his place to me. IMG doesn’t happen without Dave,” Pyles said. “Also, I want to thank (Shadyside football) Coach Mark Holenka. He was an inspiration to me and always told me don’t settle for being just good.”
Kapral may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org