A longtime East Passyunk high school coach and physical education teacher dedicated his life to developing young athletes.
All schools have their share of memorable alums, and at Edward Bok Technical High School, 1901 S. Ninth St., Lloyd Jenkins is one of them.
Jenkins, a 1969 graduate, went on to become one of the more memorable faces of its athletic department as a physical education and health teacher for 19 years and the Wildcats’ varsity basketball coach since 1999. Jenkins died April 9 at the age of 59 due to heart disease and health-related issues affecting his kidneys.
“Lloyd was unyielding in his demand for excellence,” Bok principal Dr. A. Larry Melton said. “That’s the way he lived his life, and that’s the way he always coached.”
Jenkins coached basketball at Bok for 16 years, Melton said, and was the head coach of the varsity team for the past 12 years. During this time, he also served as the varsity track and field coach and junior varsity football coach. As soon as one season ended, he moved on to coaching the next team, and did so year-round, year after year.
“Lloyd was the ultimate teacher and ultimate professional,” Tom DeFelice, Bok’s varsity football coach and other physical education and health teacher, who is retiring after this school year, said. “He was a mentor to many young people in this community.”
The Southwest Philly native was a lifetime contributor on Bok’s gridiron. Jenkins played football for the school during his years as a student as a first-team All-Public League linebacker. He was named the South Philadelphia Lions Club MVP that season, an award still given today to the top football performer at Bok, Southern and Neumann-Goretti high schools, DeFelice said.
“Lloyd’s biggest thrill was to come back and coach at his alma mater,” DeFelice said. “To be a coach of three sports was certainly a feather in his cap, and he deserved it.”
But his accomplishments weren’t limited to the field as the 35-year School District of Philadelphia educator was a respected teacher at the school.
“He could roar like a lion, yet he really was soft as a marshmallow,” Melton said.
Jenkins attended the North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University on a football scholarship, and graduated with a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in health and physical education. He worked at the Chester Y.M.C.A, and later as a Public League basketball official after college.
“Lloyd always had that coach’s look about him,” Melton said. “When I called him, ‘coach,’ he would light up and start that slow, wide smile of his, and he would give a hearty laugh, from the belly up.”
Funeral services were held April 16 in West Philly.
Lloyd Jenkins leaves behind his wife, Diane Jenkins; two daughters, Kristen and Kendra Jenkins; mother Ella Jane Jenkins; brothers Nathaniel Holmes and David Jenkins; and a lifetime of dedication to young people.
When looking for inspiration to increase motivation, Frank “Roscoe” Natale relies on Abraham Lincoln, who declared, “Whatever you are, be a good one.”
Its members cannot match the renown of the ballers at Ss. Neumann-Goretti High School, 1736 S. 10th St., but the boys’ basketball team at Edward Bok High School, 1901 S. Ninth St., has given East Passyunk Crossing residents another squad to feel thrilled to support.