Eagle Ambassadors, Inc. - Lloyd Rhoades '70

Lloyd Rhoades '70

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Lloyd Rhoades comes from a family that was always very active in school. Growing up in Curtin Village, PA, he followed in the footsteps of his older sister, Kaye Labman ’59, and older brother, Dick Rhoades ’60, to attend BEASD and keep himself very busy during his time there.

Lloyd was in the band, participated in junior and senior plays, worked at the school newspaper, served as president of the student council, and was the school chess champion for four years. In addition to all of those activities, he was also a wrestler. His lasting legacy to the school is the wrestling program that he helped to build and that continues to have an impact today.

When Lloyd graduated the elementary wrestling program was very informal, and they had to train at the Bellefonte YMCA.

“YMCA membership was expensive,” he explains, “and the technique wasn’t what we wanted it to be.”

After Lloyd graduated from BEASD he went on to earn two degrees from Penn State – in Business Administration and Operations Management. BEASD and wrestling remained a passion of his and when he was just 26 years old he made a presentation to the board to start a formal wrestling program in the elementary school. On average, one hundred and twenty kids participated from grades three through six.

“Joe Humphreys was my wrestling coach at BEA. He also taught social studies and gym,” says Lloyd. “If I’m asked who inspired me in my life, Joe is one of the top three, along with my father and brother.”

Joe Humphreys was a hall of fame wrestling coach who was also a world-renowned fly fisherman, making it into the National Fly Fishing Hall of Fame and fishing with the likes of former President Jimmy Carter.

Joe’s brother, Dick, was also a wrestler. He wrestled in college at Lock Haven University, later returning to BEASD to teach and coach for 32 years.

Surrounded by examples of men like this, it is no wonder that Lloyd went on to give back in so many ways over the years.

Lloyd’s father, Lloyd Sr., served on BEASD’s board for sixteen years. When it came time for him to leave, Lloyd urged him not to go. His father in turn, urged Lloyd to run. He did, and in 1989 he was elected. He remained on the board for 14 years and acted as Treasurer from 2003 – 2014.

Lloyd continued to grow and refine the elementary school wrestling program. During the 1980s, the BEA high school team became a dominant force in the state. In the 1990’s, BEA won every district championship, seven regional championships, and was the #1 ranked team in the state three different years. In 1999, the team was state team dual champions and state tournament champions, as well as being selected national champions by the three major polls.

Both Lloyd and his brother are in the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. The program that he developed at BEASD became the model for wrestling programs everywhere. He did all of this as a volunteer.

“Sure I sometimes had to spend money to drive the team to matches and things like that,” he says. “Back then seat belt laws weren’t like they are today. I could fit eight kids in my Impala station wagon.”

Lloyd also expanded his volunteer ethic and business skills across the state.  Since the early 90s he has been the Chief Business Officer for Pennsylvania Junior Wrestling, the oldest and largest Youth Wrestling organization in the United States. Since 2012, he has been in a similar role for the Pennsylvania Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.

Lloyd had a successful career that recently came to an end in February 2014 when he retired. His most recent job was at Penn State as the Manager of Central Services, a title that encompassed many things. He was in charge of all of the skilled technician shops on campus (electricians, plumbers, locksmiths). He also managed landscape operations, refuse and recycling, the service garage, and snow removal. Managing a team of about 320 employees, it was one of Lloyd’s many jobs to see that snow was cleared from 14,000 parking spots, 60 miles of roads, and 30 miles of sidewalk.

“The university essentially never closes,” he says. “We had to find ways to keep students fed. During winter I became an amateur meteorologist watching the weather very closely.”

Now that he’s retired, Lloyd has returned to the wrestling program at BEASD and is now managing the elementary wrestling program. He wants to reinstitute the program that he started and it looks like many others do as well. Lloyd has nearly 30 assistants already on board helping him.

“The coolest part about it is that three quarters of the guys helping are guys that I coached,” he says proudly. “They have kids of their own now and they want them to wrestle.”

When asked what his advice would be to current BEASD students, Lloyd encourages students to aim high.

“Live the experience,” he says. “Challenge yourself and don’t think there’s something that you can’t do. If you aspire highly, you achieve highly.”

Lloyd married his wife Eileen in 1974. They have three children, all BEASD graduates – Julie Valora ’95, Mickey Rhoades ’96, and Matthew Rhoades ’98.

You can watch an interview with Joe Humphreys, Dick Rhoades, Bill Fisher, and Lloyd on the Eagle Ambassador’s YouTube channel.