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John Kuzan

John Kuzan

Research manager | ExxonMobil | Class of 1986

They just don’t make ’em like Kenney Gym anymore, says John Kuzan, now a Houston-based research manager for ExxonMobil.

“I now use a gym that has a cute juice bar and a small boutique where you can buy wicking sportswear. This gym is fine, but it’s not Kenney," he says.

“Kenney had the look, the feel, and especially the smell of a gym that was serious. Kenney had a little of everything for me. The basketball court felt like it gave your jump shot a little extra spring, even if you were wearing Converse high-tops. Now, I play on a very beautiful parquet floor, but it’s set on a concrete base and feels dead.   

“Kenney’s old-school weight room with a great pull-up bar was where you could lift with Mr. Illinois and the runners every so often. There was that claustrophobic but classic lap-pool and a cinder track — three-quarter inch spikes — out back. OK, so maybe the track was clipped a bit and no longer a quarter mile.

“Best times I’ve ever had. In so many ways. And when campus was really cold, chock full of snow, and the wind was howling, there was that funky indoor track. 

“In grad school, I’d make a workout at Kenney a high point of the day. Maybe slip in at 10:30 so I could meet up with the usual crowd for lunch at noon. Or maybe use the indoor track in the afternoon to distract myself by watching gymnastics practice from above.  

“Ah yes, memory lane. Who knew then that a gray, hooded pullover sweatshirt and matching sweatpants with elastic sewn in around the ankles could be improved upon? But I don’t think you could improve on the Kenney Gym of the ’80’s. At least in my mind.”

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