Bringing Xceed’s Model to Dozens of Elite Athletes From Around the World
After coaching basketball around the world for decades, including 10 years in the NBA, Dan Panaggio wanted to share his passion for the game with young athletes. So, in 2015, he partnered with his brother, Mike, a successful businessman, to open DME Sports Academy for student-athletes looking to get the best possible coaching and preparation at a premiere facility.
“Providing our athletes with a high-quality education has always been a priority,” shared Dan. “But it was insurmountable to take on building an academic program, an athletic program and a world-class training facility at the same time.”
Xceed DME Academy, located in Daytona Beach, Florida, started offering student-athletes the option to attend school during the 2019-20 school year.
“We tried different academic programming options,” shared Dan, “but when we met with Drs. Brent and Richard Goldman, co-founders of Xceed Preparatory Academy, everything clicked. They knew how to meet the academic needs of high-performing athletes and to us, that was extremely important. Although Mike and I played basketball at SUNY Brockport, it was the academic foundations from our prep school and college that played major roles in our career successes.”
Working together to fully support all student-athletes
Today, less than two years after forming their partnership, Xceed DME Academy has 60 full-time middle and high school athletes and 40 post-graduate student-athletes who are taking a gap year before starting university or college. Sixty percent of the students are international, representing 25 different countries.
“Here at Xceed DME Academy, we’re a family,” Dan said. “We are a family-run business and because we serve children from around the world, we treat them like our own kids.”
This is also true of the Xceed faculty. Head of School Dr. Anna Gonzalez, a native of Italy, not only oversees each student’s academic plan and progress, she goes out of her way to make them feel at home.
“Anna knows what it’s like to be an international student and she understands that the kids need time to be kids too,” commented Dan. “She takes them on field trips and we often host cooking sessions, trying foods from students’ home countries. We’re educating the whole child here and we want them all to have an experience of a lifetime.”
Anna agreed. “I have the students hang out outside the school environment in a more laid-back environment like the beach, the pool and Universal Studios so they can be themselves instead of feeling like they’re in a competitive setting, and they can get to know each other and become friends.”
Preparing students for college and professional careers
“Your program is only as strong as your teachers,” Dan continued. “Xceed’s are exceptional. They teach students to take control and responsibility of their lives, which is extremely important. Elite and pro athletes have the capacity to learn and want to learn—it’s a mindset. And with Xceed, we help our athletes keep their brains functioning more efficiently and effectively than a traditional school can. The sky’s the limit for our kids and I’m so excited for their athletic and academic futures.”
Combining top-notch academics and athletics on a world-class campus
In addition to highly qualified teachers, flexible classes, AP and dual enrollment courses through the University of Pittsburgh, internships, community service opportunities and guest speakers, the gorgeous Daytona Beach facility offers student-athletes the following:
- A new 18,000-square-foot dormitory with 80 beds, two student lounges, a fully equipped commercial kitchen, a large cafeteria, an onsite laundry facility, a conference room, a learning center, an outdoor court and more.
- A 47,000-square-foot professionally maintained facility with two full NBA courts, five youth courts, seven regulation volleyball courts, a performance center, athletic training rooms and a spa.
- The 25,000-square-foot DME Ice Arena with one NHL regulation-size sheet of ice, 300 spectator capacity, multiple locker rooms and The Thaw Zone Cafe & Celly’s Sports Pub.
- 4 sand/beach volleyball courts on site and a 60×40 turf field used for soccer and outdoor performance training.
- Access to 14 beach volleyball courts on Daytona Beach.
- Access to USTA Tennis Center Courts and LPGA Daytona Golf Course.
“We have great energy in our building because our classroom is in the middle of an athletic campus,” said Dan. “It’s almost like interval training between school and sports: students train for a bit, go to class for a couple of hours, train again, school again, plus meals and snacks in between. Together, with Xceed, we’ve created the ultimate environment for young athletes to thrive in.”
Sports offered are men’s and women’s basketball teams, volleyball, ice hockey and soon, soccer. For student-athletes interested in learning more about the athletic programs, click here. For information about the Xceed academic plan and structure, click here.