Longtime Director "Coach" Jim Potter built Trinity's nationally admired IM Program
by James Hill ‘76
The Trinity University Intramural Field, located in the campus outdoor recreation area, will be named in honor of longtime intramural director Jim Potter '63, '67. The dedication ceremony will be held at 5:30 p.m., Aug. 25, at the IM Field. The event is open to all alumni, friends, and family.
"Coach" Potter served as Trinity's director of intramurals for 33 years. He retired in 2000. He was also an associate professor in Physical Education and Athletics. He earned a Bachelor of Science from Trinity in 1963, and a Master of Education in 1967.
Potter built Trinity's intramural program into one of the finest in the nation. Each year, he assembled a team of students to help administer the IM program and provided them with a nurturing leadership style that allowed the program to thrive and grow. "He expected us to make decisions using critical thinking, an egalitarian outlook, and respect for the team, those we served, and the staff working together," said George Brown '82, a former IM staff leader and now assistant vice provost and director of recreation and wellness at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.
Potter is a mentor and friend to generations of Trinity students, inspiring some of his staff leaders to go into his profession. "The environment that he created by putting students at the center of the work is still a principle I use in my work today," said Dion Wade '02, director of university recreation at Seattle University. "The care for students and the ability to let them lead made many people better at any of their chosen professions."
Under Potter's leadership, the University established the Trinity Outdoor Recreation program that provides students with camping, hiking, backpacking, and other adventure opportunities. "As an outdoor girl from Idaho, Coach Potter gave me a home at Trinity," said Erin Rausch '01, former O-Rec student leader. "As a student he trusted me and let me make mistakes. It is in those experiences that I learned the most."
Potter received National Service Awards from the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA) in 1984, 1989, 1992, and 2002. Potter was the NIRSA Texas State Director in 1975-76, and the regional vice president in 1977-78. He was also the editor of Flag and Touch Football Rules and Officials Manual from 1983-98.
A veteran football official, Potter was a member of the Southwest Football Officials Association. He officiated the Southwest Conference (now Big 12 Conference) and Lone Star Conference games for 16 years. Potter also was the timer for the Alamo Bowl football game in San Antonio for many years. He traveled to Germany for eight years and conducted officials clinics for the U.S. Army.
An outstanding student-athlete at Trinity, Potter played basketball for four years and led the Tigers in scoring in 1962. He was also an exemplary baseball player for three years.
The University honored Potter as an Outstanding Professor in 1971. A loyal Trinity alumnus, the Alumni Association presented him with the "Spirit of Trinity Award" in 2007 for his years of exceptional service to the University and the community. Potter was inducted into the Trinity University Athletic Hall of Fame in 2003.
He is a regular attendee at Trinity's baseball games, as his son-in-law, Tim Scannell, is the Tiger Baseball head coach. Coach Potter often watches Tiger baseball with his wife, Mary Alice '62, and daughter Christa '90, Coach Scannell's wife.
"I can think of no one more deserving of a Trinity honor than Jim Potter," said John Collins '79, a former student IM leader. "Like so many of us lucky enough to have had him touch our lives, we consider Coach Potter family. His decades on campus contributed immeasurably to Trinity's unique fiber and campus spirit still seen today."
A dedicated Facebook group has been established where friends, colleagues, and former students are invited to post their favorite story or photo of Potter.
Trinity's Intramural Field has a durable turf surface and electronic scoreboard. It is used throughout the year for intramurals, recreation sports, club sports, and as a practice site for varsity sports teams.