GEORGETOWN TOWNSHIP, Mich. — The University of Michigan’s run to the Elite 8 round has a bittersweet west Michigan connection. Ottawa County Deputy Matt Chatfield never got to see his nephew, Austin Davis, make it to Ann Arbor to play for the Wolverines. “Matt was around when we got the call that he was going to Michigan. I remember, I was at 6th grade camp and he called me super excited,” Heather Chatfield, a Jenison elementary school teacher, told Fox 17 Tuesday about her late husband.
“Chatty Strong” car window stickers and t-shirts filed Georgetown Township and much of Ottawa County starting in 2014 before Deputy Chatfield’s death from colon cancer in November of 2015, his nephew Austin’s senior season of high school in Onsted, the same town where Matt grew up.
“Sports became a big thing for him and he was tall, really tall. From the time he was really young he was always that big kid. He hit freshman year of high school and just took off, shot up a ton and got really serious about basketball and nutrition was a huge piece for him and just knew he wanted to do everything he could to play basketball,” Davis’ Aunt Heather explains about her nephew who is the oldest and the first nephew, niece or grandchild on that side of the family.
Heather says Austin’s love of hunting was something that he and Matt got to do often, along with his other uncle and Matt’s brother Mike. “That was their big connection, hunting, and being able to do that together down on their mom’s farm.”
As the Wolverines attempt to advance to the Final Four, Heather and her three kids, like so many others in Michigan, are enjoying the ride to the fullest from a distance, due in part to the pandemic. “It’s fun, my sister in-law, Austin’s mom posts live videos of them being at all the games and it’s fun to follow them with that. That’s fun and we can watch from here and support and cheer them on,” Chatfield told Fox 17, although she admits, it could be sweeter.
“For me it is very bittersweet because I just know how excited Matt would be. He was so incredibly proud and everyone who knows him, he talked about Austin all the time. His big sport was football but loved to watch basketball and just knew that was Austin’s passion and loved watching him do that. Austin is such a humble, just a really amazing young man and Matt just sung his praises all the time. I know how proud Matt is of him and would love to be here watching him.”
Davis was 3-3 from the field Sunday with 6 points, 3 rebounds and one assist in the win over Florida State.