Coach Potter and I are as close as brothers. We have been partners since my arrival at NU nine years ago. Before continuing, I believe we should first acknowledge how very difficult the profession of coaching collegiate basketball really is. Many times, coaching can be a thankless, frustrating, no-win kind of job. It is an occupation, a calling if you will, that is most often done in a public aquarium. It is highly visible, and it continually exposes you, your family, friends, and especially your student athletes to public scrutiny.
Coach Potter has endured and thrived in this occupation for over 30 years. He is Newman University’s most successful basketball coach ever. His teams have earned berths in both the NAIA and most recently the NCAA national tournaments. He is without a doubt, a winner. This man pulls no punches—I do not think he knows how to. He pokes, pushes and will not ever give up, especially when it comes to making young people into men—God’s men, all with an obvious love of them and faith in their ability to persevere in whatever life has in store for them. He constantly challenges his players to admit their weaknesses and limitations, while sharing his own with them as well. Somehow he is able to challenge, while urging them to find strength in faith, genuine love and total trust.
Coach Potter often views himself as a teacher first. Details are coaches’ passion and expertise. He spends countless hours watching film preparing himself so that he might be able to better prepare his teams. No doubt, Coach Potter has his way of doing things! It is my belief that his fundamentals of basketball become, at some point, his players’ “fundamentals of life”.
This man, our Coach Potter, born and raised in Southeast Kansas, has led this university from its beginnings as a NAIA institution, through the transition from NAIA to becoming an NCAA Division II institution. He will always be remembered for his character, his faith, and his impact on the institution, and the City of Wichita, Kansas. In his folksy way, while often challenged, Coach always talks to his players man to man about the things that matter on the court, on the campus, and in life. Through everything, he always projected the qualities NU so desperately wants to be known for. He epitomizes the virtues and characteristics of the ASC Sisters, and their Mission for Newman University.
It has totally been my privilege to grow with, work with, eat with, laugh with, and cry with Coach Potter during our nine-year journey. It has truly been an amazing ride. My hope is for peace and tranquility for the Potter family in retirement, and all the best forever and ever.
Atheltic Director/VP of Student Affairs
This story first appeared in the February 23rd, 2017 issue of The Vantage