Dahliena and Bryan Chavac in USC shirts with their two Doberman Pinscher dogs on a forest trail.
Dahliena (Kwan) Chavac and Bryan Chavac met as undergrads on the basketball courts in USC's Physical Education Building. (Photo/Courtesy of the Chavac Family)

Dahliena Kwan ’11, MA ’13, OTD ’14 wanted to teach her fellow USC Silks how to shoot some hoops. She had no idea it would lead to 13 years of bliss — and counting.

The kinesiology major had played basketball since middle school. When other members of the flag and color guard group in the Trojan Marching Band asked her for tips before an upcoming tournament, they headed to the Physical Education Building courts to practice.

One of the Silks recruited another friend to offer pointers: architecture student Bryan Chavac ’12. He had played on his high school team, and Dahliena quickly discovered that his love for basketball rivaled her own.

“When practice was over, the two of us would just shoot around together,” she says. “I don’t really know how it happened, but we started hanging out a lot more.”

What started as a friendship in fall 2007 turned romantic by the following February. Bryan asked Dahliena out, and they soon became inseparable. They also became pillars of support and encouragement for each other. Dahliena stayed up all night to help Bryan make a model for an architecture studio class. Bryan helped Dahliena cram for tests as she went on to earn her master’s and doctorate in occupational therapy at USC.

“I feel like our personalities complement each other really well,” Dahliena says. “We have a lot in common but we still have some differences, like our cultural backgrounds that blend together in our little family. It’s a nice give-and-take relationship.”

Bryan agrees: “We’re good as a team.”

USC Couple Finds Love on the Basketball Court

Dahliena and Bryan Chavac in USC graduation caps, gowns and sashes, each palming a basketball.

A love of basketball brought the Chavacs together more than a decade ago. (Photo/Courtesy of the Chavac family)

Given their passion for basketball, it’s no surprise Dahliena and Bryan attended every Trojans basketball game as undergrads. They would line up early in their Trojan Fever T-shirts to get a prime spot in the raucous student section. Their love of sports also spilled over into football, and they didn’t miss a home game until the COVID-19 pandemic kept fans from filling the stands at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Their game day tradition involves setting up camp with family and friends on the lawn in front of Harris Hall, where Bryan took many of his architecture classes.

“We started tailgating there in college and still tailgate there to this day,” Dahliena says. “We definitely miss it. That was one of our favorite things, enjoying the company of our friends and grilling. We’d make carne asada, burgers, hot dogs.”

Bryan’s sisters and a cousin also went to USC, and it turns out that Dahliena’s parents had their own Trojan love story: Essie (Chuy) Kwan ’73 and Wilkin Kwan ’72, MS ’75 also met as undergraduates.

“I found out later on that her dad and I also went to the same high school — Huntington Park High School,” Bryan says.

A USC Family Grows Stronger — and Bigger

As for life after college, Bryan and Dahliena tied the knot five years ago. Bryan works in architectural design at a firm in Pasadena, California. Dahliena works in occupational therapy at a hospital with adults who have physical disabilities and in schools with children who have learning and developmental disabilities.

When they aren’t hard at work, the Chavacs enjoy traveling and spending time together at home in Pasadena with their two Doberman pups, Athena and Vader.

They also have some exciting news they’ve been waiting to share with their families.

“Bryan and I have been keeping it a secret until now,” Dahliena says. “But we’re happy to announce that our tailgates will get a little bigger this fall as we expect the arrival of our little Trojan!”

Dahliena and Bryan Chavac on a mountaintop overlooking the Los Angeles skyline with their two Doberman Pinscher dogs.

The Chavacs enjoy exploring the outdoors with their two dogs, Athena and Vader. (Photo/Courtesy of the Chavac family)

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