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An Interview with Coach Michael Wells, head coach of the Admiral Farragut Blue Jackets
Visit the school's website, http://www.farragut.org/

School name: Admiral Farragut Academy

School mascot: Blue Jackets

School colors: Navy Blue and Gold

Head coach: Michael Wells

Q. What is your coaching background?

A. Beginning my 25th year as a head coach of varsity boys basketball. Previous to that served as an assistant coach at the college level. Record is: 512-259

Q. What is your education background? Also, are you a teacher or administrator at the school you coach?

A. Have a Bachelor of Science Degree in Physical Education from the University of Wisconsin - Lacrosse. Have a Master of Science Degree in Physical Education from Winona State University. I am the Athletic Director at Admiral Farragut Academy. I do teach 2 classes of health education.

Q. Define your coaching philosophy in a single paragraph.

A. I believe in teaching the game of basketball. Athletes must learn how to play before they learn the plays. The emphasis is on team play, good defense, hustle.... We stress to our the players to be winners in the classroom first before they can be winners on the court.

Q. Everyone throws around the "recruiting" word a lot. We all know that it is illegal and the FHSAA continues to probe programs about their players. Do you find it difficult for quality athletes to attend a private school environment without being accused of being recruited?

A. At Admiral Farragut Academy we will just follow the rules set by the FHSAA and not worry about false statements made by others. The integrity of the school is much too important than illegal recruiting to win a few extra basketball games. For a student/athlete to be at Admiral Farragut Academy they must really want to be here -- the demands on a student/athlete are much greater here than any school I have been associated with. The family must be totally committed to the school and realize that their son/daughter is going to get a disciplined environment with a great education.

Q. Everyone always has an opinion of what teams are good and bad. We all know that not every program is capable of making a run on the state championships in Lakeland. How far do you feel that your program has a legitimate shot at challenging this season?

A. To set a goal of anything less than a state championship would be accepting defeat. We obviously have team goals and one of those would be to go to Lakeland and win a state championship.

Q. Without getting too lengthy, or not to pry too much. Describe your team's style of play, offensively and defensively.

A. We adjust our style of play according to the type of personnel we have. I would say this year we will be an up tempo team that will play full court basketball.

Q. Put basketball aside for a moment. Do all of your players meet the requirements of graduation annually and continue to college, at any level? Is the ratio of athletes to college vs. students to college at your school what you would consider good? How many graduating athletes will be attending college? Also, how many students graduated from your school last year?

A. All our students and athletes have qualified with the exception of one athlete. That was last year and we hope it never happens again. Our graduates going on to college is a fraction below 100%. We have college placement personnel at Admiral Farragut Academy - their job is to get kids placed into college. We also have a man on our staff at AFA who just handles grants, financial aid and college placement just for minority students. We take great pride in getting all our student/athletes into college.

Q. Do you feel that it is your responsibility to help your athletes maintain their grades? Do you provide tutoring, study hall, etc? Also, do you guide your athletes through the process of taking the appropriate tests (SAT, ACT, etc.) to prepare for college?

A. When we practice in the evening I am required as the basketball coach to hold a two hour study hall immediately after school. AFA is an SAT testing site and we work extremely hard at training our students for the SAT. Every student must take the SAT every time it is offered unless the principal of the school feels the student has maximized their test score. A special tutorial period is including in our normal school day -- students must attend tutorial if they are not working up to capability. We also have what is called "No Homework Study Hall" -- if a student fails to hand in their homework for the day they must attend a special study hall after school. I feel very strong that the coach and all teachers should take a role in guiding and directing a student athlete. We are in the kids business and anything we can do to help we should. This help shouldn't be directed just to athletes but all students.

Q. Do you feel that is your responsibility to get your players' scholarships, etc. for college or the players?

A. We as coaches should help our athletes and guide and direct them to any positive situations beyond high school. I will help any student, athlete or non-athlete. Coaches should have film available and stats, resumes, ... on all their athletes.

Q. Who are your impact players on the court for the upcoming season?

A. I expect a squad of about 11 players and I expect every one of them to be an impact player.

Q. Who are your returning varsity players?

A. Victor Boccardo, junior - 6'9" - Forward
Elliot Anderson, senior - 6'4" - Forward
Emery Anderson, sophomore - 6'2" - Guard
Felipe Schmidt, sophomore - 6'1" - Guard
John Whitehead, senior - 5'10" - Guard

Q. Who are your new varsity players this year?

A. Tommy Lampley, junior - 6'2" - Guard
Lewis Lampley, sophomore - 6'3" - Guard
Benny Clyde, junior - 6'5" - Forward
J.P. Pedras, junior - 6'4" - Guard
Sterling Williams, junior - 6'2" - Guard
Chris Coleman, junior - 6'4" - Forward

This is just the new players who have approached me indicating they want to play basketball this year. Our first regular season practice is in November thus we may have some additions or deletions.

I would like to thank Coach Wells for his comments and time.

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