Calloway Ushers in New Era of Strength and Conditioning
Aug. 5, 2010
CHICAGO - Heading up DePaul's strength-and-conditioning program is a big task, but Mac Calloway has never shied away from an imposing challenge.
In his first year working with the Orlando Magic, Calloway was handed a critical assignment---help rehabilitate newly acquired star Grant Hill from a severe ankle injury.
"Here I was, a 22-year-old intern, and they were trusting me with the rehab of a guy with a $93 million contract," Calloway said. "I went right to work and did everything I possibly could for Grant."
Since that 2000-01 NBA season, Calloway has worked at Dayton, Clemson and Miami, arriving at DePaul last April as the men's basketball strength-and-conditioning coach. Calloway was named Director of Strength and Conditioning in July after the departure of Bryce Karasiak.
Coinciding with Calloway's arrival, DePaul has installed a new weight room featuring state-of-the-art Keiser equipment that specializes in resistance training.
Former DePaul basketball stars and current NBA players Quentin Richardson (Orlando Magic) and Bobby Simmons (New Jersey Nets) were quite impressed with the new weight room. Richardson is conducting his basketball camp through Thursday at DePaul, and Simmons checked out the facility during a recent visit.
"There are a lot of bells and whistles compared to the old weight room our athletes saw before they left for the summer," said new track and field coach Dave Dopek. "I've been a certified personal trainer for 15 years and seen tons of new equipment come and go.
"But I like the new setup. There's more space to do more workouts. There's a brighter, livelier look. A lot of the ideas Mac has with this new equipment is going to greatly benefit everyone.
"You'll be able to work as hard without beating up your body so much. I'm excited about the prospect of bringing my sprinters, jumpers and hurdlers into the weight room---all at the same time. Mac must have increased the floor space by 50 percent, or more."
For Calloway, safety is the No. 1 issue.
"Clearing up space made it safer because all the weight-bearing equipment before made it too crowded," Calloway said. "Air-resistance workouts are safer because there is no shock-loading to connective tissue and joints."
Women's tennis coach Mark Ardizzone is fired up about the new facility's functionality.
"For our purposes, we don't need weight-lifting type things," Ardizzone said. "We do more dynamics stuff, moving and hitting. I always felt a little cramped in the old weight room, and the girls did, too.
"Of all the components in athletics, strength and conditioning has to be on the cutting edge. In my 15 years here, weight training has changed dramatically. We need our athletes to be stronger, faster and not get injured."
Calloway was originally brought in by new Blue Demon men's basketball coach Oliver Purnell to condition the athletes for Purnell's demanding style of play. Calloway had done the same for Purnell at Dayton and Clemson.
"After screening and analysis, we're going to design customized workout programs for the basketball players," Calloway said. "We will also do that for every other DePaul athlete, making it sport-specific.
"It will take some time, but we will get it done."
Calloway worked with volleyball, men's and women's tennis and basketball at Miami and helped out with football. At Dayton he worked with men's and women's golf along with basketball. He worked with football and soccer at Central Florida.
"My experience working with other teams besides basketball will hopefully open the door for DePaul athletes to come in with an open mind and see what we're trying to do for them," Calloway said. "I'm hoping they will buy into it right away, and a lot of them already have.
"There have been softball, men's soccer and track athletes in here besides basketball players. They could see we're building a strength-and-conditioning program that is on the rise."
Ardizzone knows all about Calloway's success with the Hurricanes.
"Miami's women's tennis program is perennially ranked among the Top 10 in the country, and the men are a Top-30 program," Ardizzone said. "Their fitness is a level above everyone else, and their endurance is better than most.
"I'm looking forward to our athletes working with Mac and trying new stuff."
Blue Demon golf coach Betty Kaufmann believes the new tandem of "Calloway and Keiser" will keep her athletes on par with anyone.
"Part of golf training is aerobic, and the other part is flexibility and strength to complement our swings," Kaufmann said. "It's difficult since all golfers need a little different workout because of their body makeup.
"The new weight room will allow us to individualize each workout program to match the individual needs of each golfer."
Cross country coach Pat Savage is certainly on board.
"I'm all for this," Savage said. "Anytime you can get new equipment and modernize your weight room, it's a good thing.
"I don't think our athletes will have any problems at all adjusting to the new weight room."
The incoming freshmen from men's soccer got a head-start on conditioning while attending summer classes.
"They are seeing all the positive improvements and receiving top-notch instruction from the strength-and-conditioning staff," said soccer coach Craig Blazer. "This is a first-class, state-of-the-art facility.
"For our new players, everything is meeting and exceeding expectations of what life is like at DePaul as a BIG EAST Conference student-athlete."
The new weight room is the latest in a series of changes that have upgraded both the men's and women's soccer programs.
"The recent upgrades to our staff, soccer facility and weight room are unbelievable given the state of the economy and all the cutbacks being made in athletic departments across the country," said women's soccer coach Erin Chastain. "We are very lucky to be at a university that is thriving and continuing to provide its student-athletes with so many wonderful services."
All these enhancements have the DePaul athletics program reaching for new heights.
"Mac going to the weight room is like Oliver Purnell taking over men's basketball, Nadia Edwards heading up volleyball and me becoming head track and field coach," Dopek said. "These are all changes designed for everyone to maximize their experience here."