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

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  • poyman Lincoln City, OR
    Nov. 14, 2013 10:00 p.m.

    I am so glad that I found this article 15 months after it was written... What an inspiring story... One would have to be without feelings and emotion to not be moved by it... I'm 61, don't consider myself overly emotional... I have raised 6 kids and all of us have attended and graduated from BYU (almost all, one graduated from Utah State)... I have tears running down my cheeks after reading this... What an inspiration Jeff Chatman has been to so many people... I am so looking forward to Jordan's time as a Cougar Basketball player... What a time to be a Cougar fan.

  • Scandrus Cedar Hills, Utah
    Sept. 2, 2012 3:06 a.m.

    I have known Jeff since he played at BYU and have always had a huge amount of respect for him, he is the real deal. With all of his success he maintained the quiet humility that his mother taught him. He was one of the greatest players ever at BYU and if he didn't have to share the ball with Mike Smith he would have been one of the top scorers in school history. I knew Chat had converted to the church and that he has always been very active but I never knew the details of his conversion, it was truly inspiring to hear about the path that led him to BYU and the Church. Like someone mentioned above, his story makes me want to pick up my activity in the church and do a little more. Great Stuff DNews!

  • fred Vaenuku san mateo, ca
    Aug. 28, 2012 1:22 p.m.

    Always love to read inspiring stories like this. it always strengthening my testimonies of the church. keep those story's coming,

  • christoph Brigham City, UT
    Aug. 24, 2012 8:20 p.m.

    Love the story of Chatman running out on the Spectrum floor in Logan one night before a game with the Aggies and he saw an African American referree and he goes up to him and puts his arm around the referree and points to the crowd saying, "Ref, look at all those white faces out there....let's you and I be on the same team tonight and help each other out."

  • A Scientist Provo, UT
    Aug. 24, 2012 5:55 p.m.

    NOT for me!

  • oldcougar Orem, UT
    Aug. 24, 2012 9:00 a.m.

    Chat is on my list of top ten favorite BYU b-ball players...maybe top five! I loved watching that sweet turnaround floater!! It always went in the hoop!!

    Great story!

  • mightyd Hurricane, UT
    Aug. 24, 2012 12:03 a.m.

    I can't believe you forgot to mention all our "chat"s as employees of the BYU grounds crew, ha.....you were a great person ALL your life, your mom raised a great person, and he turned out to be a great man. (it still cracks me up remembering seeing you drive away in that 77 honda civic hatchback you bought from me....haha, knees up over the steering wheel, makes me chuckle still)
    Loved watching you play too, the original Mr. Automatic......tell Leah and Laurie hi............gordie

  • Europe Topeno, Finland
    Aug. 23, 2012 11:53 p.m.

    Clayton Christensen visited here (Finland) this week. We talked about our time at BYU. Clay playing basketball and I as a student trainer ... We reminisced about what makes BYU the great place it is. We talked about Floyd (Johnson) who was "just" an equipment manager and Rod (Kimball) and Marv (Roberson) and ond and on. How We were surrounded by spiritual GIANTS that were happy, gentle examples to us. When we look back, and remember ... They made BYU the GREAT place it is. - What a privilege we had.

  • delasalle Sandy, UT
    Aug. 23, 2012 8:12 p.m.

    Wow, that was a good read. For someone who has struggled on and off with belief in the church, this really put me in a positive mood and spirit.

  • RockOn Spanish Fork, UT
    Aug. 23, 2012 5:52 p.m.

    Jeff came to the Soviet Union with my company to teach the 100 American and 100 Russian youths on a special youth cruise up the Volga River. Jeff was a hit with the kids and couldn't believe it. We asked him to speak on personal integrity and goal setting. He thought it was so basic that no one would be interested let alone a bunch of teenagers. Leah was also very well received and impressed everyone.

    Jeff lives across the river from Portland near my sister-in-law and they have been good friends in the ward. Jeff and Leah have had a great influence on everyone by just being good, normal people. He used to play church ball but gave that up when it turned into jungle ball and guys wanting to test themselves against a top college player.

    All the best to Jeff, Leah and the fam.

  • cindyb CASPER, WY
    Aug. 23, 2012 5:25 p.m.

    I love conversion stories and this one is so inspiring. I wouldn't typically read a sports story but this one kept me interested to the very end. I too am a convert and had the difficulty of my parents concern about my baptism. It was the best decision I ever made and I agree with Jeff. The gospel is for everybody!

  • thebigsamoan Richmond, VA
    Aug. 23, 2012 4:50 p.m.


    I too thank you for your comment. Fans on both sides can sure learn from you on how to be passionate about your team and still be civil and respectful of the other side. Thanks for being such a classy fan. Wish all fans are like you.

    About the article, I thought it was a very touching story of how the gospel changed the life of a special young man and the happiness he found as a result. It's great to hear that he had great success as an athlete at the Y, but it's even more impressive that his life has been blessed beyond measure as a result of his experience there. The Lord surely have his hand in the details of Mr. Chatman's life. Thanks for sharing!

  • vesparider Pocatello, ID
    Aug. 23, 2012 4:44 p.m.

    Great story. With a degree in speech comunication I'd be interested to know some more of his career path. I believe he worked for Word Perfect for a while and then Microsoft. I'm assuming he did well enough to make a move into the business world. I believe he was also a bishop at one time.

    Looking forward to seeing his kids play at BYU. I was glad to see that he has other sons in the pipeline as well.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 23, 2012 4:07 p.m.

    @Cougar Passion
    "The major problem, in my opinion, has been the LDS fans that are actively against BYU."

    I think the issue that drives some LDS fans to be strongly against BYU is that since it's the church school, there are going to be some people that will think better of people who go there, and consequentially, think less of people who go somewhere else. This could be annoying for some people, it's kinda like the serving/not-serving a mission thing except obviously the church cares more about the mission than college choice. I know at the family ward I went to (obviously this never came up at the student wards) I was asked by people a few times why I didn't go to BYU as if it were something that needed explanation. Though I generally liked BYU and even now at Utah and as an ex-mormon I only view it in a friendly rivalry sense rather than any sort of hate. I'm smart enough to know that only a few Cougars are self-righteous about being BYU students/alumni so I see no reason to hold that against everyone else.

  • bandersen Saint George, UT
    Aug. 23, 2012 2:50 p.m.

    Jeff, thank you for being such a great example to all, including my family! Amazing wife too!

  • DEW Cougars Sandy, UT
    Aug. 23, 2012 1:57 p.m.

    Good to hear from you again Jeff. What a fine man and more to come with another fine young kids.

  • Cougar Passion Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 23, 2012 12:14 p.m.

    Thank you, UU32, for your comment. I am not from Utah, and bore no ill will toward the UofU growing up. I even cheered for them under Rick Majerus when they went to the NCAA Championship Game. My attitude changed in a major way when I moved to the Salt Lake Valley. The major problem, in my opinion, has been the LDS fans that are actively against BYU. I can of course deal with those who aren't LDS that don't like BYU. But my experiences outside of Utah have shown time and again the positive impact BYU's athletic success has for the image of the Church in the eyes of those not of our faith--again, outside of Utah, which encompasses, oh, just a few more people than inside Utah. So it's nice to run into the occasional LDS fan of the U that can nevertheless see the good BYU does.

  • UU32 Bountiful, UT
    Aug. 23, 2012 12:00 p.m.

    Jeff is one of those guys that makes me (as a Utah fan) really appreciate the mission of BYU and its athletic programs. This is why I cheer for BYU and its athletes along with the Utes. The rivalry (particularly as an LDS fan) seems silly when you think about the actual individual lives of each athlete, coach, etc. I know we all get caught up in it from time to time, but its nice to get a reminder every once in a while about what is really important and how athletics can be an influence for good in individual lives. Thanks Jeff for your leadership by example.

  • Cougar Passion Salt Lake City, UT
    Aug. 23, 2012 11:47 a.m.

    I knew that Jeff had joined the Church, and I remembered thinking a few years ago that I never heard anything more about him after he left BYU. I was also thinking that if he had kids, they would shortly be nearing college age, and wondered if any followed in Dad's footsteps and played high-level basketball. It was not long after that, that I started to hear about his son Jordan--that made me happy as a BYU sports fan. But more importantly, I'm glad to finally hear Jeff's story. The Gospel is indeed for everybody. I know we must walk a fine line to lead others to it without our efforts being viewed negatively, but how I wish I could help others to see the benefits of having and living the truth. And this comes from someone who knows both sides of the fence.

  • FDRfan Sugar City, ID
    Aug. 23, 2012 10:45 a.m.

    With some research you could find the Birmingham paper article about the rural black kid going to BYU and raising some questions about his adjustments. It would be a great followup story for that Birmingham paper.

  • guitarboy South Jordan, UT
    Aug. 23, 2012 9:57 a.m.

    Makes me almost re-consider and becoming active LDS again. Usually, I criticize people who claim certainty, and I don't believe them. Jeff Chatman's claims of certainty, accompanied as they are with realness and reasons, are more difficult to dismiss. Not sure I can dismiss his reasons for his claims.

    I still can't stand sitting through the lame meetings.

    Trent Toone and Jeff Chatman, almost you persuade me to consider the LDS word is true.

  • kitsutsuki South Jordan, Utah
    Aug. 23, 2012 9:06 a.m.

    One of my favorite ball players ever at BYU! I still remember those "soft" turnaround jumpers that he made with amazing regularity. It is interesting how fans get caught up in the sports side of things, but behind the scenes events are transpiring that are REALLY important and have eternal consequences. It makes the importance of winning look petty at best.

    Thanks for your positive example, Jeff. You are truly an inspiration! We all look forward to following your kids at BYU for years to come!

  • 3grandslams Iowa City, IA
    Aug. 23, 2012 9:03 a.m.

    Great article. I remember when he played at BYU he referred to himself as the team and everyone else was the "token white guy". Great sense of humor. Excited for his kids to come play.

  • gdog3finally West Jordan, Utah
    Aug. 23, 2012 8:47 a.m.

    I enjoyed reading this article as well. That is right up until I realized it was 8 pages. Without all the details, I still see Chatman's story as compelling and do remember him as a solid player back in the day. It doesn't seem that long ago. Oh how the years go by.

  • Duckhunter Highland, UT
    Aug. 23, 2012 7:36 a.m.

    I loved this story, thanks for publishing it. Congratulations to Jeff on a well lived life.

  • BlueCoug Orem, UT
    Aug. 23, 2012 6:49 a.m.

    Thanks for being a great example Jeff! We look forward to watching your son play for BYU.