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Cottonwood Heights Journal

Decorated Brighton alumnus dies at 40

Feb 22, 2022 08:14PM ● By Jerry Christensen

By Jerry Christensen | [email protected]

One of Brighton High’s finest wrestlers, Don Chavis (class of 2000) died in the early morning of Feb. 5 at the University of Utah Hospital. 

In a celebrated high school program that produced 76 individual state wrestling champions since 1971, Chavis was champion among champions. He was dominant in his weight class winning back-to-back state titles in 1999 and 2000. He continued on to the finals at Nationals— the greatest high school accomplishment of any of Brighton’s storied wrestlers. He capped off the 20th century and set a new standard for the 21st century of Brighton wrestlers. 

“Don was a sensitive and caring individual who was accepting of everyone” said Chad Flook, a former Brighton counselor and a contemporary of Chavis as a student in the ’90s. “He was my guy, my No. 1. I am going to miss him every day.”  

Flook and Chavis piloted multiple wrestling programs as coach and assistant coach after graduating Brighton High School. They coached teams at Los Alamitos High in California while Chavis completed his university studies at Cal State Fullerton and then they brought their talents back to Brighton to mentor the Brighton Tiger Club and then the high school wrestling team through 2009. 

John McMorris, a teacher at Brighton and assistant wrestling coach, said, "Don was widely respected and admired by the wrestling community for his fine-tuned skill and tenacity. However, he stood out for the way he dignified his opponents and the sport of wrestling.”  

The sport lies in Chavis’ bloodlines. His father is Dave Chavis and he was named after Don Neff —both Utah Wrestling Hall of Fame inductees. Don Neff recalls the distinct honor of awarding his namesake Don Chavis the most outstanding wrestler award of the 1999 region wrestling tournament.

Chavis is survived by his wife and two children. A celebration of his life will be held in the spring.