Passages: Dennis ‘Doc’ McGuire

By Ernest Pund | Sept. 10, 2013, 2:29 p.m. (ET)

Many people called him “Doc,” the founder of one of the most successful dojos in the West who became an influential voice for local, bedrock judo with his warm, infectious smile and roll-up-the-sleeves support for good causes that involved the sport so close to his heart.

Dennis “Doc” McGuire, founder of Northglenn Judo in Northglenn, CO, recognized by USA Judo with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2011, passed away Monday.

"Like so many of Doc’s students, I credit his very pure influence over us as children with contributing greatly to our success as confident, productive adults,” said Lance Nading, President of USA Judo.

“The list is vast. He is truly loved by so many," Nading continued. "He invested a bit of himself in every person he ever met. Whether it be family, friends, students or patients, he woke up every day with a natural desire to help and guide people in a way that most of us can't or won't.  I've known him most of my life, and I'll miss him every day for the rest of my life."

A successful optometrist, Dr. McGuire founded Northglenn Judo more than 40 years ago, creating a launch pad for some of the top judoka in the country. He was one of the most successful coaches in the country, training well over a hundred athletes who became national champions or placed in national competition, including Kenny Hashimoto, an alternate on the 2008 Olympic Team; Lance Nading, President of USA Judo and 1996 Olympic Team alternate; Craig Agena, a member of the 1984 Olympic Team; and Leonard “Buck” Wessell, founder and chairman of the Boulder Judo Training Center and Team Leader for the U.S. Olympic Judo Team in 2004.

Two-time Olympian Pat Burris recalled how McGuire welcomed him with “guidance and friendship” at Northglenn Judo in the 1970s. “I was saddened to learn of Sensei McGuire's illness and his passing.  He was a great man and a wonderful blessing to American Judo,” said Burris, head sensei at USA Stars in Moore, Oklahoma. “His graciousness and desire to help athletes is a trait I try to emulate.”

Burris said he learned from McGuire that “it wasn't only the athlete who needed his guidance and support.  His kindness and love also extended to the family of the athlete as well.  He was genuinely concerned and protective of all of the people involved.”

 USA Judo offers condolences to Dr. McGuire’s family, his club members and countless friends. Details about memorial services will be provided as they are made available.