Jon Murphy found the second floor of the Union Special building along Route 47 in Huntley just as he remembered it.
Not fancy, but functional. An ideal spot for the club called Old School Wrestling.
“It looks like something out of ‘Rocky,’ ” Murphy said.
Murphy, a physical education teacher at Johnsburg and assistant wrestling coach at Barrington, long had thought about owning his own club. He now has that opportunity as he takes over Old School Wrestling Training Center from Rich Tado, who is starting another business.
Murphy, a 2001 Woodstock graduate, was coached by Tado with the Blue Streaks. Murphy heard, during the IHSA Wrestling State Tournament, that Tado was looking to sell. The only thing left for Murphy was pitching the idea to his wife, Katie. When she was on board, Murphy jumped.
“Ultimately, I’ve always wanted to own my own club,” Murphy said. “I knew it would be a lot of work to get it off the ground. This is a total timing thing; we wanted to capitalize on it and move forward. I keep on selling to my wife that many hands make light work. I want to involve as many people from the wrestling community as we can.”
Murphy does not lack for wrestling contacts around the area. He was a Class AA state runner-up at 152 pounds in 2001, wrestled at North Central College and then did some MMA fighting for a few years. He has coached at Vernon Hills, Richmond-Burton, Crystal Lake Central, Johnsburg and now Barrington. He hopes to have local wrestling notables such as Jordan Blanton, Joey Kielbasa, Brandon Peschek and Crystal Lake Central coach Justen Lehr among those helping out. He also hopes to have high school stars such as Richmond-Burton’s Jaden Glauser and Huntley’s David Ferrante, among others, helping with the younger athletes.
Murphy hopes to integrate more jiujitsu and other forms of combative grappling into workouts.
New sessions for Old School Wrestling started March 19, with six-week sessions. Wrestlers can train two to four days a week. The Huntley Raiders program rents the building from November through February, while the high school season is going, then Old School Wrestling will be in it the rest of the year.
“Wrestling’s such a family, you bring your people into your circle, they’re in the circle forever,” Murphy said.