“THE ROYAL HIGH SCHOOL”


ROYAL HS 2

Spread out over a 125 acre campus in a tiny central Florida town with less than 900 people, Montverde Academy doesn’t look like a normal school. That is because it isn’t. From pre-k to 12th grade which accommodates 1,200 students, the school and campus is picturesque. Once known for only it’s academics, the boarding school, which costs $49,000 per year, is The Royal High School of schools.

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Montverde Academy campus

In 2011, a hiring was made in the athletic department that put basketball on par with the superb academic reputation the school has rightfully achieved. The hire made waves across the high school basketball landscape and changed many people’s perceptions on what lengths non-public schools will pay to have a winning program.

The man who was hired to take over the basketball program was Kevin Boyle. A New Jersey native, Boyle left the Garden State and headed 1000 miles south to Montverde. Boyle made his name known 2 decades earlier at Saint Patrick’s High School in Elizabeth, New Jersey. His teams won and they won often. NBA players Kyrie Irving, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist, Samuel Dalembert are just 3 of the dozens of Division 1 players he helped mold at Saint Patrick’s. Boyle won 2 National Coach of the Year Awards during his time there as well as numerous state titles.

Boyle is as fiery a coach now as he was when he was the point guard at Division 1 Saint Peter’s College in Jersey City, New Jersey. The 53-year old with a reputation for being controversial and outspoken was now in charge of leading a basketball program with the elite academic reputation.

In 2010, Boyle’s Saint Patrick’s team with Kyrie Irving as its leader was declared ineligible for postseason play as they violated state regulations when Boyle attended and was involved in unsanctioned off-season workouts. Many say it was a witch-hunt that drew the ire of Boyle.

There were questions on just how the coaching move would work out. How would he conduct himself in the sunshine state? Would his reputation carry over from New Jersey to Florida? Would he possibly put his program in jeopardy by getting into trouble with the Florida high school sports commission? So far, so good.

“THE CONTRACT”

While the move of leaving a premier basketball program such as St. Patrick’s was stunning, the tiny catholic school paid very little. The terms of Boyle’s new deal was something Division 2 and 3 coaches would salivate over. Kevin Boyle, high school basketball coach, received a contract that pays him roughly $130,000 per year, which is currently more than three Division 1 head coaches.

He also received a car and a house, all paid for by Montverde Academy as part of the terms in his contract. In addition to coaching, the 53-year old is the Director of the Booster Club at the school. This deal is the first of any kind in high school basketball and has not been duplicated yet.

“BUILDING AN ELITE PROGRAM”

Within a couple minutes, Boyle can walk from his house and into the gorgeous and brand new $6.5-million dollar multi-purpose athletic facility on the MVA campus. Before Boyle came to the Florida school, MVA was a good program. However, with the resources and money flowing into the school by donors and others, being good wasn’t good enough.

Recruiting in high school basketball is not a secret. The high school basketball powers to be have not gotten a grip on how to combat players changing high school after high school for the sole benefit of boosting a player’s athletic profile. Each state has their own rules for players who change schools. However, it is extremely difficult for each states governing body to catch a player who is switching schools just for athletics. Schools, coaches, and players of all sports use this to their advantage all across America.

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MVA’s 6.5-million dollar facility

This tremendously benefits non-public schools and especially a school like Montverde Academy. Players from numerous states are routinely on their roster each year after transferring from their previous high school. Ben Simmons made his way to Florida via Australia.

What Kevin Boyle has done since he got to MVA is exactly what he was paid to do. Win basketball games. From 2012-2015, the “Eagles” won 3 straight national championships. Stars such as D’Angelo Russell and Ben Simmons headlined those teams. Russell was the #2 pick in the 2015 NBA Draft and Simmons went #1 overall in the 2016 NBA Draft. Dozens of “Eagles” have parlayed their MVA education and athletic ability into full Division 1 scholarships. The “Eagles” are now the standard of excellence in the ever increasing cut-throat world of big time high school basketball.

 “HIGH SCHOOL SCHOLARSHIPS?”

Fans of high school basketball ask this question repeatedly. “How can student-athletes and their families afford a school that costs $49,000 per year?” Montverde Academy implies it doesn’t give full scholarships to its student-athletes based on ability or talent. Students can apply for financial aid. How much financial aid is a question we can’t answer. The only people who can answer this question are the families and the school administrations.

“WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD?”

kevin boyle pic

Kevin Boyle

Kevin Boyle is already a 4-time National Coach of the Year. He has won 3 national high school basketball titles. He is only 53-years old. Will a Division 1 school take the chance on a high school coach? He has reportedly interviewed for Division 1 head coaching jobs in the past. Will he jump at the opportunity should the situation arise?

Whatever happens in his basketball future remains to be seen. He was brought in to bring national prominence to a school which desperately wanted to become a big-time player in the sport. He accomplished that.

In 2011, Montverde Academy broke the standard of high school athletics, for better or for worse. The next question will be “Which is the next school to offer a coach the same contract?” Is the precedent that Montverde set good for high school sports? That is up for debate and everybody will surely have their own opinion. However, Montverde Academy got exactly what they wanted. They are unequivocally, “The Royal High School” of basketball.

 

🔴Originally published October 2016

 

18 thoughts on ““THE ROYAL HIGH SCHOOL””

  1. jsc says:

    Good article. I would follow up with the players that Boyle coached at St Pats in NJ.
    He also had Embiid at Montverde as well.
    Good job on a coach that should be at a DI school soon.

    1. Hello JSC,
      Thank you for your comment. I could have added Joel Embiid to the article, however Russell and Simmons were the 2 main catalysts during the national championship runs. Also, Boyle has sent so many players to D1 schools where I could have written an article just on that alone. The article was on Montverde and I didn’t want his time at St. Pat’s to override the theme of the article. Thank you for viewing our website and please keep commenting.
      -Rob

  2. Steve Crozza says:

    I will bet that Kevin Boyle himself could not write a personal biography any better than this. The information you provide about his success, and by association the success of the Royal High School appears to be factual due to the specifics mentioned about various people.

    It does seem to be a school at conflict with the very conservative nature of its past, but it does highlight the efforts that schooling is required to go to these days to produce results for investors and parents.

    You portray these facts and information clearly and emphatically, how does the results of the sporting side of the school compare to the academic component?

    1. Rob Giannotti says:

      Thank you for your excellent and thorough comment about this particular article and topic.

      -Rob

  3. Marc says:

    Sweet article!

    love the history content you provided. Gives a great story for those who are interested in joining their basketball team.

    Could use a little more visual content though. Try looking up Royal High Schools basketball athletes. They should have some pictures of their practices or maybe even games you can add to your post

    1. Rob Giannotti says:

      Hello,

      I am glad you liked the article. I agree with you in regards to adding more visuals. However, it is very tough and you need to be careful where you get pictures.

      -Rob

  4. Larry says:

    Interesting. It makes you wonder how far this is going to go. To what lengths will high school programs compete now for top talent? Recognizing that this “top” talent is coming out of junior high.
    I guess we could wish for a time when kids could be kids, and play for their local schools, and play more than a single sport – but it looks like that’s toothpaste that’s never going back in the tube.
    Shocking article Rob, but I’m glad you wrote it.
    Cheers.

    1. Rob Giannotti says:

      Hello,

      You make some very good points. “To what lengths will high schools go to get top talent?” is an excellent question. As a big follower of high school basketball, I can say that in my state, New Jersey, it is getting out of hand. Multiple kids transfer every year to different schools, almost always for the ability to play for a top team that gets a lot of notoriety. What this does is it really effects the public school programs, who lose these kids to the catholic/private schools. I also do not see how it is going to change anytime soon unless stricter rules are enforced.

      -Rob

  5. Nate Glick says:

    $49.000 a year!!!! Wow! great article. Up here in Northwest Ohio we have private schools also but nothing like this. Crazy how high schools can go above and beyond to create a power house program. I know this happens when it comes to football here though! Fun read! I look forward to reading more down the road!

    1. Rob Giannotti says:

      Hello,

      I am glad that you enjoyed the article. It really makes you think how high school sports have really changed in the last 10-15 years. I am also familiar somewhat with Ohio football. I know there are some powerhouse programs up there. Try and keep coming back to the site. We provide good information on everything related to basketball.

      -Rob

  6. Julian Butler says:

    Great article! I am more of a football fan than basketball, but you see the same level of competition within high school football as well. Having a grade A coach for a high school team seems to be the way of the future since the competition is getting more and more fierce as time goes on. Rightfully so, as the high school players are our future pro athletes.

    1. Rob Giannotti says:

      Hello,

      You make a very good point in regards to high school football. I believe that high school sports nowadays are becoming very competitive and the popularity is exploding. There are numerous T.V. shows that focus on high school recruiting as well as numerous websites. People want to read about the future of the NBA, the NFL, etc.. The pressure on high school coaches to win is at an all time high in my opinion. Coaches have to be successful or their athletic director will find somebody else.

      -Rob

  7. Robert Junk says:

    you see these type of schools and programs popping up all over the country in the last 5-10 years or so. The advantage they have over public schools is they can recruit and offer a quality education in return. I’ve seen in my own city in Kansas City. It’s definitely a trend around the country for sure. This school looks to have taken it a step further however, Great article and great job brining this trend to the forefront.

    1. Rob Giannotti says:

      Hello,

      It is definitely a trend that is going on around the country. You make an excellent point about their advantage over public schools because of their ability to recruit. This really hurts the public schools in a huge way since it takes their players away from the town and school.

      -Rob

  8. Tar says:

    Hello there,

    In my opinion, something like this which is a first time, one which was never done historically, would repeat or beyond expectation to some people, it would become a norm.

    I am not surprised if it’s the latter. With money being the integral part in any field, education will be upgraded to the extent schools would not just invest on facilities but getting certified trainers or professional retired coaches to guide young students to be an athlete if some of them have the ambitions.

    1. Rob Giannotti says:

      Hello,

      You make some very good points. There are a few high schools right now that are pouring millions of dollars into their high school athletic programs. There are also a few high schools that specialize in individual sports. This means that a high school kid who is good in a sport will go that high school and receive the best training on a year round basis, while receiving their education.

      -Rob

  9. Nico Rocha says:

    So this is the famous Montverde Academy that I always see in ESPN. It’s nice to know the history of Montverde behind the basketball history because I never knew they were such a highly respected academic institution. I guess their basketball reputation preceded them already that their academics took a backseat to it. But damn, that tuition fee is so high and is even higher than all of the colleges here in the Philippines and that’s worth note taking. Although, I feel they give free scholarships to athletes since even with financial aid, this prep school still costs a lot and most of the ballers dont have that much money to put in school

    1. Rob Giannotti says:

      Hi,

      Yes, this is the same Montverde that is on television. They have won the past 3 national high school championships. You make a great point about the tuition. The athletes are definitely not paying that much money. They receive financial aid, and scholarship money to attend. The majority of the players are recruited to the school as they come from all over the world. Great questions.

      -Rob

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