Men's Head Basketball Coach Mark Potter may be retiring from the court, but he certainly made his mark at Newman University. As Potter begins a career in motivational speaking, the people he inspired the most came together for a final farewell.
His last week at Newman was certainly an emotional one for Potter — from receiving a variety of good wishes to planning strategies for a final home game and conference tournament appearance. And his team didn't let him down.
They may not have won their final two games, but Potter and the rest of his Newman community knew that the spirit and fight were ever present still.
On Saturday, Feb. 25, the Jets led their team in a rally back from an 11-point deficit during the final few minutes of the game to tie it up and head into overtime. The gymnasium was filled with energy from the fans, of whom many were sporting t-shirts reading "Potter's Army" on the front accompanied by a picture of the coach himself. Unfortunately, the game ended with a score of 95 - 100, with the Jets barely missing the win.
After the final home game, the Gorges Atrium inside De Mattias Hall was filled with friends of Potter, old and new. Associate Athletic Director and Senior Woman Administrator Maureen Rohleder recruited alumnus Michael Eck to contact past players and invite them to a special reception. Nearly 100 people came to wish Potter luck in his new endeavor.
During the reception, a special clock that was carved by Newman Board of Trustees Member and former Newman Chaplain Fr. Tom Welk was presented to Potter. The wood for the clock came from the cedar tree that was once located just west of Sacred Heart Hall before it was blown down during a storm.
The team then had another task at hand — playing in the Heartland Conference Tournament that took place during the weekend of March 2-5 in Tulsa, Okla. The Jets ultimately fell to Dallas Baptist after playing hard in the game.
Now that Potter has concluded his coaching career at Newman, he'll focus on his speaking career moving forward. His first official appearance took place at Central Community Church on Sunday, March 5, during which he spoke to the congregation about his experience dealing with severe depression. Potter hopes to continue his mission of helping as many people he can who are going through depression.
"God's calling me to do this, to tell my story about depression and what I went through," said Potter. "There’s nothing more priceless than that, to be able to touch other people through that."
Watch the video that pays tribute to Potter: