Man pushes aside doubters to chase dream of elite athletic school on family land

Updated: Jan. 8, 2020 at 6:52 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, Ala. (WSFA) - Not far from the tracks that run along Coosada Parkway in Elmore County, more than 100 acres sit secluded, empty with hay bales off to the side. It’s just the way Dusty DeVaughn likes it because he sees this as a canvas to do something special.

“We got equipment on the ground for the first time. I think it’s my maturity. I’m ready for this," said landowner DeVaughn.

DeVaughn is moving full steam ahead with his dream of building the Ultimate Student Athlete Academy, or USA, something similar to IMG Academy in Florida, a sharp focus on sports and academics, particularly football, exposed on the national stage.

“We got kids from 32 states contacting us to play football, just football,” he said.

DeVaughn says he’s already enrolled more than 50 students at a temporary location away from the family land. Tuition will eventually top out at more than $13,000 a year. The entire sports complex will run in the neighborhood of $13 to $15 million.

“Private investors are private for a reason. I’m not going to be bullied or feel like I have to tell something because we’re a private entity, non-profit and that’s important to us,” DeVaughn said.

USA has scheduled to play eight teams from outside Alabama this fall, including the number one high school team in Canada. In other words, DeVaughn anticipates the 5,000 seat football stadium to be completed before the season begins this fall.

“We’ve got a tremendous amount of dirt to move just to get ready before we have that stuff come up. I have a backup plan if not, but I am highly confident that we will be ready for fall 2020,” he said.

There are doubters aplenty, a fact DeVaughn acknowledges, but nothing he says will derail a dream, a country boy thinking big.

Just last Friday DeVaughn announced the hiring of a prominent high school football coach Rush Propst.

DeVaughn says construction will begin soon.

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