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BYU men's basketball: BYU fans, including former great Jeff Chatman, show strong support in Portland

Published: Saturday, July 4 2015 12:04 p.m. MDT

PORTLAND, Ore. — One of the many blue-clad fans that attended Saturday's BYU-Portland game at the Chiles Center was Jeff Chatman.

For the former Cougar star, who played in Provo from 1985-88, it was great to have BYU play near his home in Ridgefield, Wash., which is about 15 miles north of Portland.

"It's always very exciting to have BYU come to Portland," Chatman said before the game. "It makes it easy to take most of the family out to the game. When BYU joined the (West Coast Conference), we knew it was going to be really exciting for us to watch them every year."

Chatman, who owns two emergency dental clinics in the Portland area, is also the father of two future Cougars. His son, Jordan, a 6-foot-4 guard, signed with BYU in 2011 and is currently serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Taiwan. He's scheduled to enroll at BYU in the fall of 2014.

His daughter, Jessica, a high school junior, has already committed to play for the BYU women's basketball team.

"They'll both be freshman at the same time," Chatman said. "It will be a lot of fun for us."

Chatman said the Cougars have strong support in the Pacific Northwest, evidenced by the large number of BYU faithful in the stands Saturday.

While a group of Portland students sported togas Saturday night, there were a few Cougar fans with "B-Y-U" painted on their chests.

"Fans out here in the Northwest are as rabid fans for BYU as they are in Utah," Chatman said. "After every game, in football and basketball, everybody in my (LDS) ward and stake bring it up with me. They travel to games and they are very interested in BYU. There are a lot of Mormons in this area. Right across the river in Vancouver, there are four stakes. The fans here are very excited about BYU."

Saturday at the Chiles Center, Cougar fans may have outnumbered Pilot fans.

"There's one guy in my stake who bought 22 tickets for his family alone," Chatman said.

Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company