Diano Pachote: setting the bar high for student athletes

Senior running back and football captain Diano Pachote. Photo by Jackie Cohen

Many student athletes stay busy enough balancing practices, games and academics. Senior running back and football captain Diano Pachote takes it a step further by putting in about 20 hours a week volunteering for multiple causes.

Pachote was named as one of the 146 nominees to the Allstate Good Works Team. The team, which will be shortened to the final 22 players in late September, honors athletes for “their dedication to volunteerism and enriching the lives of others.”

Senior defensive lineman Adam O’Shea believes that Pachote being nominated for the award is a reflection of the values of the football team.

“The Chapman football program is more focused on building good people than it is on building good football players, and that’s something we pride ourselves on,” O’Shea said. “We may not beat you on the field, but we’ll beat you in the classroom and out in the community.”

Pachote is relatively new to the world of community service, as he started volunteering during his first year at Chapman.

“When I came in as a freshman, I saw all the guys I admired and looked up to on the team going out and giving back to the community, and I wanted to be just like them,” Pachote said.

Pachote runs a chapter of the Be The Match on campus, which is a national bone marrow donation program. He is in charge of running the annual drive to sign people up to donate.

“It touches home because one of our guys on the team, (junior offensive lineman) Hunter Spriggs, was diagnosed with leukemia over the summer,” Pachote said.” The good news is things are looking up for him, but knowing someone who is actually affected and has a personal stake in it makes the people we are helping much more real.”

Pachote and the team participate in other community service activities, like working with Chapman Athletics to organize a day for special needs athletes who didn’t qualify for the Special Olympics.

Pachote, O’Shea and about 20 other Chapman athletes spent the day as a “buddy” to one or two special needs athletes, engaging with the athletes in activities like passing a soccer ball and hosting their own awards ceremony. Although the program was started by sophomore punter Elias Deeb, Pachote and O’Shea are also working to make sure it continues annually and involves more Chapman athletes.

Another initiative Pachote leads for the football team is their work serving food to families in need with Caterina’s Club. The organization is based in Anaheim and combats hunger in Orange County. It is run by Bruno Serato, owner of the Anaheim White House restaurant, which burned down in February.

Most recently, Pachote and the team decided to gear their efforts toward relief for Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. The football team plans to partner with other Chapman Athletics organizations to donate old clothes to those who have lost items in the aftermath of the storms.

“Our head coach, Bob Owens, always encourages us to think about what we can do to give back,” Pachote said. “After the hurricane, he got us all together and was like, ‘You’re all smart guys, I’m sure you can think of a way to help.’ We may not have the deepest pockets, but if there’s a way for us to help, we will find it.”

O’Shea said he sees Pachote as an effective leader and role model for the rest of the team.

“The biggest thing that I think Diano does well as a leader is make himself completely available to the team, no matter what they need,” O’Shea said. “He’s a good example on the field, in the weight room and in the classroom, and he’s definitely someone that the younger guys can look up to.”

As a captain, Pachote works to ensure that the rest of the team is also involved in the community, and views his leadership position holistically by encouraging the team to become well-rounded in all aspects of their lives.

“I don’t really base my leadership style off of anyone,” Pachote said. “I know that the things I needed when I was younger on the team were more academic and professional than athletic, so I try and share as much knowledge as I have with the team so they can surpass where I am now once they’re seniors.”

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