JaDae McGuire rents a small space at the Central Park Athletic Club in Lisle where he runs his company, ESP Athletics.
His desk faces an indoor track.
But one glance at the Wall of Fame, which overlooks his left shoulder as he sits as his desk, is proof that McGuire and ESP Athletics are doing big things to help raise the performance levels of area athletes and teams who call on his services.
ESP Athletics—ESP is an acronym for Explosive Speed Power high performance athletic training—was started by McGuire, a Lisle resident, in 2006. Since then, the former Green Bay Packer has built up ESP to where it is training male and female athletes in Lisle and also at ESP Athletics South in Georgia (ESP’s Georgia facility is run separately).
You may have heard of a few of the athletes who’ve worked under McGuire’s tutelage:
- Dan Dierking, a Wheaton Warrenville South standout running back who played at Purdue and is trying to earn a roster spot on the Chicago Bears. Dierking was one of the McGuire’s first athletes.
- Mike Trumpy, who became Northwestern University’s No. 1 tailback last fall. The Wheaton North grad scored two touchdowns for the Wildcats last November when Northwestern faced Illinois at Wrigley Field.
- Will Matte, a WWS product who is the starting center for the University of Indiana’s football team.
- Tim Rusthoven, who was a two-time Illinois Basketball Coaches Association all-stater and is Wheaton Academy's all-time leading scorer. Rusthoven now plays at William and Mary.
- Greg Petty, a Downers Grove North grad who led the Trojans to a 32-5 record and recorded 342 kills last spring. He’s playing college volleyball at Lewis University in Romeoville.
- Matt Hasse, from Naperville North, saw action in 12 games last year for the Austin Peay men’s basketball team.
- And last, but not least, Reilly O’Toole, who quarterbacked Wheaton Warrenville South to consecutive Class 7A state football championships (2009 and 2010).
O’Toole, now at the University of Illinois, passed for 42 career touchdowns and completed nearly 75 percent of his passes at WWS. The Tigers lost just one game his junior and senior years.
He trained with McGuire and ESP Athletics for four years.
“He’s a good kid,’ McGuire said of O’Toole. “He’s extremely humble kid, but he’s also the life of the party. He’s entertaining, energetic and funny. But when you pop the helmet on, he’s a different kid. To see him inside of here, you wouldn’t walk in and say, ‘Hey, star quarterback, Wheaton South, 75 percent completion rating.’ You wouldn’t see that; you would see just a kid. I think his demeanor on the field is an adult. He’s just a fun-loving guy.”
College-bound athletes who are continuing to work out with McGuire before they leave for their respective schools include Dayton offensive tackle Chris Cortopassi (WWS product), linebacker Jack Eshleman (WWS), Air Force Academy lacrosse player Jacob Kazar (WWS), Illinois Wesleyan linebacker Mike Kraft (Naperville Central) and Butler pitcher Eric Stout, who led St. Francis High School to the Class 3A supersectionals last spring.
WWS senior running back/wide receiver Dan Vitale, a recent Northwestern signee, also works out with McGuire at ESP.
Setting goals, achieving goals
No matter what the sport, McGuire sits down with each athlete and maps out specific training goals that will increase their speed and agility.
“What are you training for? How long?” McGuire asks them. “Once we figure out what those (goals) are, then we start attacking those issues. How do we make you run faster? “
Weight training factors into everything, he noted.
“If you want (to increase your) size, say you’re a little guy coming in and you say, ‘I want to compete with the big boys,’ ” McGuire explains. “One thing we have to do is put size on you. We have to develop your strength on both ends—upper body and lower body. So we definitely have to attack that.
“Those muscles help propel you, so we’ll also do lifting to help you with your speed training. It all ties together with the weight lifting that we do and also our speed training.
“It’s not just the speed. We have to hit the weight room to make sure we gain the size and the strength to carry ourselves and propel ourselves to be powerful and explosive.”
McGuire, who was on the Packers’ roster briefly in 2004 and played Arena Football for Louisville during 2005, also has worked with high schools in recent years such as Oak Park-River Forest and Wheaton North’s football and girls basketball teams.
One school, in particular, with whom McGuire has enjoyed a steady relationship is Wheaton Warrenville South. He’s worked with the football team since he first started ESP, and added the boys lacrosse team last year. The Tigers’ lacrosse club went 14-4 in 2011, and the football team? Well, their record speaks for itself.
“I come back every Monday throughout the year,” McGuire said. “I’m happy to be a part of their program. It’s a great program. It helps the kids, and you see the team atmosphere and see the kids come together and bond.”
A Classic event
Over the summer, McGuire assisted WWS head coach Ron Muhitch and Wheaton North head coach Joe Wardynski with the Red Grange 7-on-7 Classic, an eight-team event that included three 2010 state football champions: the Tigers, Class 8A champ Maine South and 5A champion Montini.
The Falcons, Glenbard West, New Trier, Barrington and York—each of whom made the 2010 playoffs—also participated.
“What Coach Muhitch and Coach Wardynski wanted to do was bring a competitive nature to 7-on-7,” McGuire noted. “We wanted to bring in IHSA referees and make it as competitive as possible to make sure our kids have the best advantage.
“It was something that was fun and energetic, and we all brought something to the table, meaning Joe, Ron and me.”
The Classic also featured a lineman challenge, which had nine events, including a one-rep squat, a long obstacle course and an event where individual linemen turned over a 200-pound tire.
“We placed two teams competitively so they could watch one another go head-to-head,” McGuire said. “You saw who you were competing against so that made them work just as hard to prove themselves. It was a great experience.”
No matter if he’s assisting teams or individual athletes, McGuire enjoys watching athletes reach their maximum potential.
“It’s very satisfying to see our athletes excel,” he said. “To watch them on TV and put them up on our board and say, ‘This is something that we worked with, worked for, and I got a chance to help them.’ ”
McGuire hopes he’ll get an opportunity to work with more high schools and with more athletes one-on-one in the future.
“We definitely want to add more teams in our area,” he said. “We want to raise the level of competition in our area. We want more kids to get Division I scholarships, whereas the city kids get a lot of that because they have athletes. But we can raise the level; we can help athleticism here.”