Dave Boettcher (left), one of the nation’s top rebounders at Arcadia University in Glenside when he graduated in 2007, went on to play professional basketball for one year in Australia and two years with the Washington Nationals.

by Len Lear

When Dave Boettcher graduated from Arcadia University with a bachelor’s degree in Biology in May of 2007, NBA teams were not knocking on his door, despite the fact that the 6-foot-9 forward/center had more moves than a U-Haul-It truck, was named “Male Scholar Athlete of the Year” at the Glenside university and was ranked 13th in the country in rebounds.

In fact, the Media native, now 33, just might have been the best basketball player in the history of Arcadia, a Division 3 school. (Division 3 colleges are generally the smallest and have the least amount of resources for their athletic teams. There are currently 451 colleges and universities in the U.S. classified as Division 3 for athletic competition.)

Although the NBA was not in the cards for David, who did not play basketball until he was a sophomore at Penncrest High School in Delaware County, he was invited to go to a combine (showcase) for non-NBA pro basketball opportunities, where he worked out in front of scouts and agents for teams from around the world. He wound up with an offer to play for a professional team in Australia called the Cannons. (It does not exist any more.)

“At the time,” said David, “we ended up winning the championship game, and I was ‘Player of the Finals’ with 25 points and 12 rebounds in the final game. I only stayed for one season as I wanted to finish my degree at Arcadia. I will say looking back that I wish I stayed a few more years in Australia as the culture, people and experiences I had while over there are unmatched with anything else I have done. It was a great experience, and I am fortunate to have had the opportunity.”

David also got an offer from a team in Germany to play, but the world-famous Harlem Globetrotters contacted him just before he was supposed to leave for Germany and offered him a better deal, a position on the Washington Generals.

(The Washington Generals, founded in 1952, consist of talented basketball players who nevertheless exist primarily as a part of the Harlem Globetrotters’ act, effectively being stooges for the Globetrotters. While the Globetrotters play tricks and entertaining displays of skill for the crowd, the Generals appear to attempt to play a “normal” game of basketball. According to the Generals’ website, they probably only beat the Globetrotters once, 100–99, on Jan. 5, 1971, in Martin, Tennessee, ending a 2,495-game losing streak.)

At Arcadia Boettcher played about 25 games per season, but with the Globetrotters he played in about 125 games in a season that started with training camp in October and ended the following June. In addition to games before the general public, the season included a tour of U.S. military bases in seven countries.

But David said he was delighted with “the opportunity to play for a world-famous team. I got to travel the world and play the game I loved for two years straight, but it started to wear on me, so after those two years of being on the road, I decided to hang up the shoes professionally and pursue other endeavors I was passionate about.”

One of those endeavors was being an assistant coach of the basketball team at Penncrest High School in 2009 under head coach Mike Doyle, “who remains the head coach and one of my most respected mentors.” In addition to helping out with the basketball program, David was also working at Fitness 19 in Secane, Delaware County, as a trainer and assistant manager.

He was there for about a year when he was offered the job at the National Personal Training Institute (NPTI) in Houston, Texas, which trains personal trainers. David moved down to Houston in 2010 and became the director of education for NPTI Houston shortly afterwards.

“I have run the school ever since,” David told us in a phone interview, “educating students on anatomy, physiology, exercise science, nutrition and program design as a personal training certification program. Houston has been a welcoming home over the last eight years. I have made some great connections, friends and work colleagues along the way. This has allowed me to position myself as a leader in the industry and a sought-out strength, wellness and fitness coach.”

The former “General” received a Master’s degree in Exercise Science from California University of Pennsylvania. In addition to teaching at NPTI, he teaches at a college in Texas, trains clients (he was ranked among the top 50 trainers in Houston this past year) and travels across the country providing continuing education with the Brookbush Institute. “My ambitions are clearly education based,” said the former basketball star and current trainer who no doubt never allows his students to engage in “gym-timidation.”

For more information, visit www.nationalpti.edu. You can reach Len Lear at lenlear@chestnuthilllocal.com