Written By: Devin Garner
On Monday, Nov. 2, St. Mary’s College of Maryland (SMCM) athletics announced that Reava Potter had been hired as the head coach of the cross country and track and field teams. In the spring of 2020, it was announced that SMCM would be adding track and field to the list of varsity sports on campus, and Potter will build the new program as well as take the reins of the already established cross country team.
Potter graduated from Temple University where she competed on the NCAA Division I track and field team for all four years. She served as a captain during her senior year, and qualified for the Atlantic-10 Championship in multiple events, including the heptathlon, triple jump, pentathlon and relays for all four of her seasons. Potter also received the Spirit and Sportsmanship Awards and served as a member of the NCAA Student Athlete Advisory Committee from 2007-2009.
After graduating from Temple, Potter served as a graduate assistant coach to the track team and led her alma-mater to an Atlantic-10 Championship during the 2009-2010 season. After three years of working as a graduate assistant at Temple University, Potter became an assistant coach at Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina. The following year, Potter took an assistant coaching position at Bethune-Cookman University for one year where she coached seventeen All-Conference athletes and led the men’s team to its first ever Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Championship. Under Potter’s guidance, three student-athletes at Bethune-Cookman University were named United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association All-Americans.
After her successful season at Bethune-Cookman University, Potter served as an assistant coach at the University of Alabama at Birmingham for four years, where she worked specifically with the multi-event, jumping and throwing athletes. During her time in Alabama, Potter coached three athletes to All-Conference titles in the NCAA Division I Conference USA. After coaching at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Potter arrived at Emmanuel College where she has spent the last two years as the head coach for both the cross country and indoor/outdoor track and field teams. While at Emmanuel College, Potter coached the women’s cross country team to the 2018 GNAC Championship as well as the women’s indoor track and field team to the GNAC Championship in 2020. Potter earned the accolades for 2020 GNAC Indoor Track and Field Women’s Coach of the Year.
In the announcement released by SMCM Athletics, first-year athletic director Crystal Gibson noted that “Coach Potter from the beginning of the process, emerged as a top candidate through her ability to not only coach and recruit young men and women student-athletes, but also develop them into leaders in the sport and community.” Gibson continued to add that Potter “has proved her ability to recruit top-level student-athletes, athletically and academically – developing them into highly competitive athletes and leaders. Reava is an outstanding fit for the St. Mary’s College of Maryland community and I am confident she will bring a high level of success in building these programs for top level competition.”
Tyler Wilson (‘22), a member of the SMCM men’s cross country team, explained that the cross country team found out about the hiring of Coach Potter in mid-October, and that the cross country team had the opportunity to meet with her over Zoom before she was officially hired. Wilson stated that the team was told that Potter would start as the head coach on Nov. 16, which potentially means that she could be responsible for assigning workout schedules over winter break. Workout schedules right now, Wilson explained, are being assigned by an assistant coach.
Wilson mentioned that he is excited for Potter to take over the program and that he believes her prior experience as an athlete and as a collegiate coach will benefit the SMCM cross country and track and field programs. He stated, “I think Coach Potter’s experiences have prepared her for this moment, her experiences as a runner allow her to put herself in our shoes, and her experiences as a coach allow her to know their intricacies of form and other training techniques to help us all improve.”
It will be exciting to see the impact that Potter will have on the well-established cross country program, as well as the incoming track and field program. In the SMCM Athletics announcement, Potter stated: “I am very excited about the opportunity to take over the cross country teams and start a new track and field program. I would also like to thank Athletic Director Brendan McWilliams and Andy Yosinoff for giving me an opportunity to become a head coach at Emmanuel College. I am excited to see what I can accomplish at St. Mary’s College of Maryland!”