'The gospel is for everybody,' says former BYU basketball great Jeff Chatman

Published: Thursday, Aug. 23 2012 5:00 a.m. MDT

In April 1989, Chatman married his sweetheart, Leah, in the Jordan River Temple. Today the Chatmans live in Ridgefield, Wash. Jeff and Leah have eight children. The oldest, Jocelyn, is a student at BYU. Jessica, another daughter, is a junior in high school. She has already committed to play basketball for BYU coach Jeff Judkins.

Jordan, the oldest son and No. 2 child, is serving a mission in Taiwan and committed to play for BYU upon his return.

Jordan’s middle name, “Reid,” is an expression of love and gratitude to Roger Reid, the coach who didn’t give up on signing Chatman as a Cougar.

“You don’t think that hasn’t meant something to me?” Reid said. “I’ve coached a lot of players, but I don’t know that I love any player more than Jeff Chatman. … His impact has been unbelievable.”

Chatman owns and operates two emergency dental offices in Oregon and serves on his stake’s high council. Leah describes him as a natural speaker and teacher. He has also enjoyed researching his family history.

Reflecting on his life now, he can see how the Lord prepared him for the experiences he has had.

The biggest message Chatman hopes people will take away from his story is a witness of the universal power of the gospel of Jesus Christ and how it can bless lives.

“The gospel is not for one particular race, color or nationality,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor. I’m a normal guy who accepted the gospel.

“The gospel is for everybody.”

Email: ttoone@desnews.com Twitter: tbtoone

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