Theary Chhim ’03: “Paying It Forward”

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Courtesy: Theary Chhim

Theary Chhim is a full-time Pharmacist who also coaches Evergreen girls basketball and helps design for DATSFILTHY, a White Center-based clothing brand.


Theary Chhim was born and raised in White Center.  Her parents were refugees who escaped the Cambodian genocide during the 1970s.  Theary’s family came to the United States after being sponsored by a family in Iowa, and eventually settled in the Seattle area.

Theary grew up in Park Lake Homes (now Greenbridge), and attended White Center Heights Elementary.  Her parents worked very hard as janitors–they still are janitors–and that’s where she attributes her strong work ethic.

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Theary’s family and sponsors in Iowa (Courtesy: Theary Chhim)

Theary has played basketball since the 2nd grade.  At Evergreen, Theary credits her coaches–Daylene Boehm ’88, Tyrone Curry and Doris Burdin–as huge influences.  She said they were “not only coaches on the court, but also in life.”  They taught her to “believe in yourself, that you could achieve anything if you believed in yourself.”

In particular, Theary considers Coach Boehm to be a mentor who put a lot of trust in her and made basketball fun and something she always looked forward to.  “All of my passion for sports,” she said, “is because of Daylene.”

Theary graduated from Evergreen in 2003, and went on to attend South Seattle College, where she continued to play basketball as a co-captain.  She then pursued her passion for the arts and earned a degree in Interdisciplinary Visual Arts from the University of Washington.

Theary’s art degree has helped her design for DATSFILTHY, a White Center-based clothing brand founded by Kimnang ’03 and Priscilla Seng.  “DATSFILTHY has provided a platform for my creativity,” she said.  “And I am thankful to Kimnang and Priscilla for the opportunity!”

Her favorite DATSFILTHY design is of All-Pro and Pro Bowl Safety Earl Thomas which she describes as “always looking forward” and “a strong pillar.”

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Courtesy: DATSFILTHY

After UW, Theary attended the WSU College of Pharmacy, where she became a Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D).  During Pharmacy school, Theary returned to Evergreen to serve as a volunteer coach for Girls Basketball, where she has coached since 2012.

“I felt so blessed and wanted to ‘pay it forward,'” Theary said about coaching back at Evergreen.  “These girls need consistency in their life. And I wanted to be a positive figure: someone who went to their school, who could show them that they could be successful, that they were not a product of their environment.”

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Courtesy: Theary Chhim

Theary believes that Varsity Basketball Coach Tasha Hicks McCray has been a monumental leader in building the Evergreen program and is proud to support her vision for the Evergreen Basketball Program through the years.

Theary said that to her, coaching is a way to ‘pay it forward‘ and honor the people who were inspirational to you while you were growing up.  In particular, Theary said that it was a surreal experience to coach alongside her old coach, Tyrone Curry.

“Hard work does pay off,” Theary said.  “And you can use those skills to help your community and inspire others.”


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