ANAHEIM, Calif. - In the past four years, Bethesda University's athletics department has produced 15 professional athletes that have gone on to play locally in the U.S. and overseas. Just recently three men's basketball players have signed on to play professionally in Spain, Italy, and Germany. Two from women's basketball signed with teams in Australia and Spain. Additionally, one of our baseball players signed with a team in Japan's pro league. We will feature them in a subsequent article. Today, we will talk about about a former Flame that became a different kind of professional.
Daniel Chavez, a former team captain and leading scorer during his tenure at Bethesda university was all set to play professionally in Mexico. In the Summer of 2017, the former All-American honorable mention had multiple teams from Mexico interested in him. Daniel was all set to sign a contract offer with a team when an important life choice came his way. An opportunity to work for one of the best companies in America came along and was too good to pass up. Costco, the gigantic wholesale company offered Chavez a position at their corporate office in Seattle, Washington. On the one hand, he had the opportunity to fulfill every basketball player's dream and turn pro, yet on the other, Costco offered stability and a good career in which he could apply his degree. Daniel, graduated with honors at BU. Chavez definitely had a very difficult choice to make as he had just gotten engaged to fellow Flame, Jessica Smith (women's basketball). Playing in Mexico would mean being away from Jessica and life as a rookie overseas is not the easiest especially when one is far from family and friends. Daniel, being the responsible former team captain, chose to remain Stateside and has never regretted his decision.
Daniel and Jessica tied the knot this past June, which according to Chavez is the greatest accomplishment of his life. Being the former college athletes that they are, the couple wore matching silver Kobe Bryant shoes for their special day. Chavez also accepted a promotion to be one of two training analysts at the Costco corporate office. Him and Jessica are living happily in beautiful Seattle. When asked what advice he could give the current student athletes at Bethesda, he said that it is important for student athletes to embrace their moment in college and make all their opportunities count. He added that there are so many young people out there who do not get the chance to play college sport so it is important to be coachable and driven to be the best. He also emphasized how critical it is for student athletes to get their degrees. This is after all the reason for his success as professional in his new field.
"Chavez was one of the most dedicated athletes I have ever coached. He took his training seriously as if he was always preparing for the pros. This gave him a great career at BU. His dedication to his academics along with the leadership skills he developed as a team captain really prepared him to have the tools to become a professional in any field he chose" said men's basketball coach Leo Balayon. "We are just as proud as Daniel as our student athletes who have gone pro because he is in fact a true professional" added Balayon.
Watch out for our next articles as we profile our Flames who have recently turned pro!