“That’s the thing about dreams, they never die” — Chloe Temples reflects on historic BYU softball career

A senior’s final games as a college athlete are often a time of contemplation. For BYU softball pitcher Chloe Temples, such reflection brings feelings of gratitude as she awaits her final moments on the mound.

Temples began playing softball at age eight after her older sister Kayleigh took up the sport, never seeming to look back since.

“When I signed up for softball, I thought I was going out for tennis,” Temples said. “I showed up for the first day of tryouts and I (thought), ‘This is not what I had in mind at all!’ But I ended up really loving it.”

Even with her father as her coach, Temples did not play much in the field at first but still showed her passion for the game. After hating the feeling of losing in her first season, she decided that instead of playing in the outfield, she was going to learn how to be a pitcher.

Chloe Temples pitching as a young girl. (Photo courtesy of Chloe Temples)

“I had a little net that was about six feet tall and three feet wide, and I just put it out there. I didn’t know how far (the net) was supposed to go or anything, I just put it out there and started tossing (the ball) like a bowling ball. I finally got one into the net and was super excited,” Temples said. “I ran into the house and I told my parents that they had to come watch, and that was how I started (pitching).”

The senior southpaw attributes much of her early success to the time spent playing under her father’s coaching, although he only carried experience playing baseball.

“My dad is really into it. He’s all in for (my siblings and I),” Temples said. “He’s coached a a lot of our teams and has spent hours watching YouTube videos figuring out how to pitch because he didn’t know a lot at first. We were just learning by trial and error together through it all.”

Temples with her parents Andra and Lee. (Photo courtesy of Chloe Temples)

When Temples was in the 10th grade, she committed to a Division-II school that was only a few hours away from her Florida home. As signing day approached, she felt uncomfortable about her decision and decided to contact BYU. Soon after, BYU’s staff informed her of a camp they would soon be holding, with Temples electing to attend.

While visiting Stetson University a short while later, Temples wondered if she would ever hear back from the Cougars after her camp performance. As that thought crossed her mind, her phone rang.

It was Pete Meredith, an associate head coach from BYU.

“I answered the phone and (Meredith) told me that they decided that they were going to go a different route,” Temples said. “I still remember what he said to me very vividly. He told me, ‘That’s the thing about dreams, they never die.’ I held onto that and actually wrote it on a piece of paper. I still have that piece of paper taped up on my wall in my childhood bedroom, so every morning when I would wake up, I would see it and (know) that that wasn’t going to be the end of my story with BYU.”

Coach Meredith’s quote that hangs in Temples’ childhood bedroom

Temples ultimately attended Stetson for two years, earning ASUN All-Academic honors and was ranked as the nation’s ninth-best pitcher by D1Softball.com. Even while ranking top-five nationally in innings pitched as a freshman, Temples acknowledged experiencing plenty of difficulties outside of the diamond, all of which would prepare her to arrive in Provo.

“I learned a lot,” Temples said of her time at Stetson. “One of the main lessons was (that not) everything’s gonna go my way and it’s okay and to learn how to roll with the punches sometimes and to trust Heavenly Father’s plan over mine.”

After her sophomore year, Temples entered the transfer portal and contacted BYU to see if she had another chance to be a Cougar.

“We always knew she was a determined soul. A kid that would work hard and was determined to be great,” BYU head coach Gordon Eakin said. “It was transferring from Stetson that we thought, ‘Okay, now she’s got a little experience, maybe she can help us.'”

“We felt that with her willingness and drive we could develop her into something very special,” Meredith added.

As the coaches predicted, Temples did develop into something special.

In her first year with the Cougars in 2022, Temples finished with a 15-3 record, made the All-WCC Second Team, earned WCC Pitcher of the Week honors twice and set the BYU program record for most strikeouts in a game with 15 against Saint Mary’s on May 13.

After a fantastic junior campaign ending in a torn labrum, the 2023 season hasn’t gone exactly as Temples had hoped thus far — sporting a 4.04 earned run average, 6-5 record and 85 strikeouts over 86 innings of work as of May 2 — but that hasn’t impeded her from continuing to be grateful for the blessings she has received throughout her journey.

“I feel like I’m guilty of always (wanting) more and (wanting to) be better, and that (mentality) is a big part of how I got here,” Temples said. “But especially this season, I’ve learned to realize that I need to take a second to look back and to thank my Heavenly Father for being here because he didn’t have to give me anything.”

Temples’ determination to carry on throughout her senior year and become a leader for the Cougars does not surprise anyone, especially her teammates and coaches.

“Chloe has been a leader because she cares for every single person on our team,” junior outfielder Taryn Lennon said. “She makes them feel valued and makes it a priority to be kind which makes her so special.”

“She’s not a ‘rah-rah’ kid,” Meredith said of Temples. “She sees it for what it is. And she’s a good force within the bullpen. She’s a good force for the younger players to look up and see how she handles herself when things aren’t so bad.”

Temples has also been an example for her teammates through her work ethic in the classrom, as she plans to graduate with a degree in microbiology and take the MCAT exam this summer.

“She’s a leader when it comes to academics,” freshman infielder Hailey Morrow said. “She takes her academics very seriously and that’s something that as a team we should admire.”

Temples’ time in BYU blue may be numbered, but she has done more than enough to be remembered within program lore for years to come. Her journey to Provo may have been unconventional, but Eakin, Meredith and her teammates can only feel fortunate for Temples ending up with the Cougars at all, let alone as a BYU legend.

“I’m just grateful we got another shot at her and grateful that she’s here,” Eakin said.

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