|Chris Bevilacqua (by John Harrison) (1986)|
|Courtesy of John Harrison|
Read full spotlight at: http://www.nittanyliongrappling.org/bev.html
Chris was a two-time All-American, a three-time Eastern Wrestling League(EWL) Champion, a four-time NCAA Tournament qualifier and a U.S. World Espoir Champion while he wrestled for Penn State. He was also a team captain and has been elected to the EWL Hall of Fame. Chris has continued to demonstrate his aptitude for success since his years at Penn State.
Chris, what have you been doing since you graduated from PSU?
After graduating from Penn State in the spring of 1986 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing, I began working in Sports Television Production as a production associate and eventually Associate Producer for various television networks including NBC Sports, CBS Sports, ABC Sports, ESPN, etc. I worked on numerous events from Super Bowls to NCAA Football Regular season and Championship games, World Series, All-Star Games, Summer and Winter Olympics, golf events, boxing matches, cycling races, marathons, figure skating, swimming and diving events and of course the NCAA Wrestling Championships! Along the way I picked up an Emmy Award for the 1988 Olympics for best live special.
After a few years of production work I moved into the Manager of Sports Programming position for NBC Sports for three years working for current President Dick Ebersol. I went on to Major League Baseball as Director of Corporate Sponsorship for almost three years and then to the Baseball Network for two years in a similar position. Finally, I landed at the greatest sports marketing company in the world...NIKE, and have been the Director of Global Negotiations and League Affairs for four years.
How did you get started in wrestling?
Wrestling was a pretty easy start for me as my dad was (and still is) one of the most fervent advocates of the sport that I've ever met. He's been coaching wrestling for 35 years on both the high school and collegiate level. So, I didn't have to go to far to get to a mat or a workout room. I got started in 9th grade, which is kind of late in wrestling years, and continued on until age 23 when I had career ending shoulder surgery in 1986.
What are your best memories from the years you spent as a Penn State wrestler?
My fondest memories from my Penn State years are numerous and come in no particular order. I remember my teammates and how close my relationships with them were (and still are!) both on and off the mat: everyone from my roommate Eric Brugel to Steve Smith, Pat Hanrahan, Mark Eagen, Greg Elinsky, Tim Flynn, Carl DeStefanis, John Manotti, Jan Johnson.... I remember the 5:30 AM practices, the crawls after practice, the bus trips to the midwest in the snow, the smell of the locker room, weigh-ins, training table, running Mount Nittany and Beaver Stadium.
I remember the battles in practice with Brugel and Elinsky. I remember Fritzy and Coach Lorenzo yelling in my corner and the long talks in Coach Lorenzo's office about the subject of life and what it took to become a more successful student athlete. Can't forget the diet pepsi's in Coach's office! I remember the long rehab on my first shoulder surgery with Strength Coach Joe Diange and missing my first year as a red-shirt. I remember my first match as a college wrestler and winning the first tournament I ever wrestled in, the 1983 Stroudsburg Open. I also remember my first loss at the 1983 Penn State Open finals to my teammate Eric Childs. He had an incredible tight waist and I couldn't get off the bottom. Mostly though, I remember my experience at Penn State as the best five years of my life.
Do you still follow wrestling?
I don't follow college wrestling much anymore although I still make the pilgrimage to the NCAA's every year. It's always great to see everyone. I'm particularly looking forward to this year's tournament as it's at Penn State for the first time in about 30 years.
How has collegiate wrestling changed since you were a collegiate wrestler?
I think the sport has pretty much stayed the same, although somebody finally figured out that the weight loss issue had to be addressed. It's a shame it took a few recent tragedies to move the needle.
In terms of comparing wrestling styles today vs 10-12 years ago, for the most part they haven't changed in my view. If you're mentally tough, well conditioned, good on your feet and you can get off the bottom you're going to win alot of matches.
How has the Penn State wrestling experience impacted your life/career?
Without question my wrestling experience and overall experience at Penn State has had a significant impact on my life since I graduated. Aside from my parents, Coach Lorenzo was the most influential person in my life. He not only taught me how to use my physical skills as a wrestler but also my mental skills and how to use them to become a better and more successful person. For that I am deeply indebted to him and Penn State University.
It's probably summed up best by saying wrestlers just love to compete. I hated the losses more than I loved the wins. The same is true today except I get to compete against the likes of Adidas, Puma and Reebok. Wrestling taught me that the harder I work the luckier I'll be.
What advice do you have for collegiate wrestlers?
You only get four years to accomplish whatever it is you set as your goals. At a program like Penn State, an NCAA Championship, and World and Olympic Championships are all within reach because of the coaching, competition, facilities and financial support. Shoot for the stars, work hard and just believe that you will be the best you can be and the rest will take care of itself.
|Back to Wrestling Memories|