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There are thousands of Johnson & Wales University success stories, but few carry as similar yet unique a thread as those of Chris Anderson ’04, Ryan Moats ’05, and Brandon Partridge ’06.

The prowess that Anderson, Moats and Partridge showed on basketball courts during their days at JWU — each at a different campus — has translated into success in their chosen fields. All three were two-year captains and set records for their respective teams. Each represents one of the university’s three colleges — Anderson, the College of Culinary Arts; Moats, the College of Business; and Partridge, The Hospitality College. All credit key intangibles learned on the court for their current accomplishments. So, friends, as radio’s Paul Harvey would say, “Here now, is
the rest of the story…”

Courting Success

Chris Anderson, from Wentzville, Mo., was the all-time leading rebounder in the 13-year history of basketball at the Providence Campus and a team captain in his junior and senior years. Within days of his May 2004 commencement, the culinary nutrition major received a call from Providence Campus Culinary Nutrition Department chair, Suzanne Vieira, with a job right up his alley. Vieira was looking for a personal chef to be heavily involved in nutrition and body composition analysis for former wrestler-turned-action-film-star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and his family. Days later, as Anderson headed to Florida for a face-to-face meeting, those athletic intangibles came into play.

“The pressure was no more than it is late in a close basketball game,” recounts the former power forward. Flight delayed, bags lost, lacking his chef ’s knives and wearing sandals, jeans and the tee shirt on his back, he met Johnson and was asked to cook.

“It was like a key free throw. You shut everything out, and do what’s asked of you,” Anderson says, “but they were so understanding, and, after three days of cooking, I had my bags back, and I had the job.” Hired as personal chef and nutritionist, he’s been at Johnson’s side ever since.

Ryan Moats was a leader of the most successful team in the relatively brief hoop history of the Denver Campus. The marketing major turned his basketball success into a budding career in business at CCT Advertising in Denver. Moats says his success at CCT Advertising is “absolutely, positively” directly attributable to the life lessons learned as a Wildcat basketball star.

Like Anderson, Moats was a captain in his final two seasons, and credits his success in business in great part to the ups and downs he was forced to face head-on as an athlete. “There was confidence gained through every struggle,” Moats says.

“In my junior year, we only won six or seven games, but we kept plugging — and that’s a life lesson. When you’re in the working world, you keep pushing until there’s light at the end of the tunnel.” By his senior season, his team had more confidence. They’d won 18 games, and went on to play in Minnesota in the (NAIA Independent Division) national championships.

The talented point guard calls upon all of the resources he learned at JWU as the foundation of his career experience. “Once you leave school, you reflect on what you learned, and you rely on some of those things,” says Moats, who boasts the United Way, AA, the University of Denver, First Commercial Bank, and Duke Energy among his major accounts.

Touring the World

Brandon Partridge, a sports/entertainment/event management major, was one of the top players ever in North Miami. Graduating in 2006, the Seneca, Ill. native continues to play basketball as a member of the Washington Generals, traveling with — and as fans know, always losing to — the world-famous Harlem Globetrotters. In the midst of a stretch in which he will play 115 games in 110 days, Partridge is seeing the world with the legendary Globetrotters show.

One of his many contests was in Baghdad, Iraq during the same week in which former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was executed. “In the third quarter of the game, there was a mortar round fired nearby,” recounts Partridge, “We hit the floor, and we were scared for our lives, until someone told us that those things happen all the time.”

Patridge has played in 23 countries since November 2007, when his second tour with the team began. The former Wildcat shooting guard is experiencing the ultimate basketball tradition. The Globetrotters, a touring force for more than 75 years, play before crowds of up to 20,000 night after night. His teammates, all former collegiate players, are an important part of the Globetrotters experience.

Having majored in events, Partridge says he’s fascinated by visiting a myriad of arenas around the world, each with its own ways of handling the business. “We play indoors, outdoors, large venues, and some small facilities. We played on the U.S.S. Eisenhower … We’ll play anywhere.”

Once he hangs up the sneakers, Partridge hopes to land a job in the SEM “arena” (no pun intended). But he’s not ready yet. “I’m hoping to stick around as long as the legs hold up,” he says.

All three of the basketball stars-turned successful professionals speak of the commodities of the workplace: discipline, teamwork, coping with pressure, drive, punctuality, and more, that were all honed while playing basketball for their Wildcat teams.

A USCAA All-American and a member of the North Miami team that won the USCAA national championship in 2003, Partridge says his athletic experience was a perfect preparation to play as a General. “I can’t tell you how much confidence I’ve gained because of my basketball experience at Johnson & Wales.” He credits his coach, Dave Graham, with his athletic and personal development. Moats reflects a similar note. “We really gave it our all … every time we took the court. And that’s what we have to do in everyday life, too,” he says. “We were always able to dissect our strengths and weaknesses and it helped to build a proper foundation, not only for basketball, but for what we were to do after graduation.”

“I got so much out of my playing days,” agrees Anderson. “Discipline in sports creates discipline in life. The best athletes are the ones who are driven. So are the most successful professionals.

“People are relying on you to deliver, be it your teammates or your boss. You learn organizational skills, time-management skills, how to handle pressure,” he says. “You learn how to support each other when someone needs it most. And you learn how to make the big play.”