David N. Potter was born March 11, 1952 to Homer and Virgie Potter on the “Hilltop” in Columbus, Ohio. David was the oldest of 3 children, brother Quentin, and sister Linda. All three are proud graduates of The Ohio State University. David was active in backyard baseball, football and basketball as a youth, but his real love was tennis, spending countless hours on the courts at Westgate Park. Also involved in Boy Scouts, David achieved the rank of Eagle Scout in 1967. In 1969, David was awarded the Boy Scouts of America Honor Medal for saving a life. Graduating from Columbus West High School, Dave was awarded the three-year varsity award in tennis. That year, his team won the Columbus City League title. Tennis was very good to Dave. While attending OSU, he was able to secure several teaching opportunities at various tennis clubs, helping him to pay his way through school, graduating in 1974.
Jump forward several years after coaching tennis, track, and basketball in Columbus, and Ft. Lauderdale, Dave landed in Ashland, Ohio. In the early 80’s he coached 7th grade basketball, 7th grade football at the Ashland Middle School, taught tennis at Brookside Park, and coached summer league tennis. During these years Dave found he loved running also, and when the opportunity presented itself, he and good friend and training partner, Ron Whitehill took over the Ashland Middle School Cross Country program. At the same time Dave received his Masters in Education from Ashland College in Elementary Administration. The cross country team enjoyed great success, undefeated seasons, and a mythical middle school state championship. Many went on to make great varsity contributions in track and cross at the high school and college level of competition.
Also in the early in the eighties, Dave went “all in to running.” Training hard, and racing often, he found himself finishing stronger and placing higher in each race. Usually running 10 and 5ks Dave started running longer distances. He completed his first marathon in 1981, and ran more than 30 more including 6 Boston Marathons and even 2 in Finland. Dave also began a daily running streak in 1990 averaging 5.24 miles every day for over 19 years. Dave is #73 on the USA Retired Running Streak List as of 5/2016.
In 1990, Dave was given the chance to coach Cross Country at Ashland High School as an assistant to Dave Smalley. Two years later he moved up to head coach of the boys and girls. For six consecutive years the boys won the conference championship, 5 district championships, and 4th, 7th, and 8th place finish at the Ohio High School Cross Country D1 State Championships. During those years, 4 different boys received All Ohio Honors at State. Coach Potter was a 6 time Boys Conference COY, and District COY.
Potter’s girls were also impressive, stringing 14 straight Conference Championships, 9
District Championships, 1 Regional Championship, and 5 State meet appearances, with 2 All Ohio and Academic All Ohio honors. Dave received 14 Conference Girls’ Coach of the Year honors, 2 District Girls COYs, and 1Regional COY. As distance coach for girls’ track, Dave’s runners hold or held school records in the 3200, 1600, 800, indoor 3200, indoor 1600, Distance Medley Relay, Medley Relay, 4x400, 4x1600, and indoor 4x800. One of many highlights would include the AHS girls placing 1-2 in all distance events including relays at the conference meet in Orrville. The AHS girls won the District in track the following week.
Potter retired from coaching at AHS in 2004. He is incredibly proud of the more than 30 of his runners that went on to run competitively at the college level. Many have continued to run and compete. Several have run many marathons, including Boston. Others have gone on to coach at the middle and high school levels and have too, taken teams to the State Championships.
After retirement, Dave has worked at Ashland University, supervising student teachers. He also worked as a personal trainer at the Ashland YMCA. Dave continues to coach a few adult runners. He and Pam enjoy their small farm, raising a handful of beef cattle and hay along with Lindsey, her husband Scott, and granddaughters Carlee and Hayden, who also have a home on the farm.
Dave was surrounded by tremendous support over these wonderful years by his wife, “Coach Pam,” and daughter Lindsey, as well as countless family and friends. He thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated the athletes that trusted, and bought into the “cheetah” philosophy. The parents of the Ashland Cross Country Parents Organization were Second to none in its support. Dave so appreciates the fellowship over the years from Ashland athletic directors, coaches, and also rival and college coaches always willing to share, model, teach, and help him succeed. Dave knows all of you contributed to this honor and thanks you sincerely! IDare to Run with the Beast.
Nominated by Ron Whitehill