Position: Guard

Years: 1970-74
Height: 5'8"

Hometown: Bronx, NY


(Rodd Elizondo – Center, Seated)

“Rodd was our first Gaucho Captain”,

recalls Gaucho Founder Lou d’Almeida.

When the Gauchos were still in their infancy (it was started at the Westside YMCA in New York City), Rodd’s father, the actor Hector Elizondo, was a leader in martial arts, and Lou was a leader in racket sports and basketball.

“His father, Hector and I, were friends because we were fellow leaders at the Y”, Lou says. “In other words, we were voluntary staff there. And it’s interesting that we both ended up where we end up. We were friends. I always loved Hector. There was something about him too that was very charismatic. Like Rodd”.

So it was quite an honor to be a Captain at the time when Gauchos were still choosing a name.

“So rather then it being the Loins, or the Tigers or whatever, I decided that since my heroes growing up were Gauchos, the last of the totally self-sufficient tribes in South America, I thought it would be a good name. So I drew up a logo and they became the Gaucho, even though in those days we were referred to as the Grouchos because Groucho Marks had a very successful show on television”.

“But Rodd was a very charismatic kid, he was definitely a leader. He always had a smile on his face, he was always positive and he was an inspiration for the rest of the guys on the team. Because actually we all selected him, myself included, to be the captain. He was that kind of, that type of guy. He stood out. I’ll always remember that. He was ever present and he was a leader”.

And Rodd was a terrific basketball player. He was one of those unbelievably quick NY guards.

“He was little” Lou reflects. “He was a short little guy with unbelievable quickness, which is something you can’t learn. Quickness is something you are born with. And he was fortunate enough to have that. You know, so he was sort of hard to guard, and impossible to stop”.

“After he left the Gauchos, maybe two years after he left to Gauchos, he called me because he wanted me to come to his wedding. He was getting married. In New Jersey. And I said, “No Rodd, I love you very much but I am not going to any Gaucho weddings. It’s enough that I put up with your BS for years (Lou laughs). And now I’m so glad that you’re out there being successful in life.”.

From all your Gaucho family,

God Bless You, Rodd Elizondo. Rest in Peace.

September 5, 1956 – February 24, 2017