Inspiring / Dedicated / Uncommon / Dynamic / Passionate / Real / Relatable
I am a husband, father, and grandfather. I am a passionate, caring man that simply wants to use my life experiences to teach and inspire others.
Mark grew up in a small town in Kansas, where he was a basketball and baseball fanatic! As a stand-out in both sports, he was recruited to play at the collegiate level. He first attended Cowley County Community College and then went on to finish his playing career at Kansas Newman College where he earned a degree in Secondary Education. Mark became known from this point on as “Coach Potter”. After teaching and coaching at the high school level for 11 years, Mark took on the challenge to restart the men’s basketball program at his Alma Mater, now called Newman University. He remained at Newman for 19 years and just recently left the coaching profession to become a key-note speaker. Mark felt a calling on his life to share his experiences as a coach and become an advocate for mental illness. Mark’s battle with severe depression and his rise to victory is what he refers to as a “national championship”.
Mark Potter was a head men’s basketball coach for 30 years. He began teaching and coaching at Cheney High School in 1987. He led the Cardinals to two state tournament appearances. Potter then headed to Kapaun Mt. Carmel High School where he also led them to a state tournament appearance. At Potter’s third tenure, South High School, the team finished third in the state tournament. After only one year at South High, Potter accepted the challenge to restart the men’s basketball program at Newman University after an 11-year hiatus. In only the second year of the program, Potter’s team made their first national appearance. After 10 years competing at the NAIA level, Potter again lead the Jets as they made the transition to the NCAA Division II level. Potter has the most victories and highest winning percentage in Newman University’s program history.
Potter coached over 800 games during his 30-year tenure. His teams have been successful at all levels. He was named coach of the year five times and has been named top 15 most influential people in the Wichita sports world. He was recently inducted into the Wichita Sports Hall of Fame. Mark recently left the coaching profession to pursue his passion for educating and motivating people from all occupations. Potter formed his company, D2UP, and speaks on many topics including mental toughness and motivation, but his greatest passion lies in his personal battle with severe depression. Thirteen years ago, Potter knew something wasn’t right and he began a downward spiral into a world of darkness. Potter missed eight games and 25 practices due to severe depression. Since that time, he has been on a crusade to educate and encourage others suffering from mental illness to seek assistance. His passion is to share his story in hopes that people will pursue treatment and find a way to live productively with mental illness. His wife, Nanette, often shares her perspective to encourage those living with someone suffering from a mental illness.
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Speaker Menu Items
Toughness vs Talent
This keynote shares practical solutions and strategies to get the most out of your talent as a teacher, student, or athlete. Practical ways to increase your mental toughness are given so you can reach your ultimate potential.
Time to Talk Truth
This keynote provides a real, relevant, and raw story of my personal experience with severe depression. You can have victory over mental illness and I want to share my experiences to help others. My wife will also share her perspective and give the caregiver some practical suggestions to assist in the situation.
Embrace the Journey
This keynote provides companies and schools with simple ways to change their thinking about personal growth and the daily grind of “business as usual”.
What Others Are Saying
“As an educator, the scariest thing I can imagine is pulling 750 students from class, putting them in an auditorium with a guest speaker and talking about depression, but that is exactly what we did and we tasked Coach Mark Potter with the responsibility of making it a success. Coach Potter’s story about his battle with depression is compelling and his message to kids about getting help is appropriate, relevant, and passionate. In my nine years in education, I have never seen a group of 750 kids more engaged with a guest speaker. More important than the talk, for us, was the outcome. I met with several students over the course of the next few weeks who stepped forward to advocate for help in their own struggle with depression. I would highly recommend Coach Potter to any high school that is willing to have the difficult discussion about mental health.”
Counselor at Maize South High School
“Coach Mark Potter delivered a very powerful and very real account of his own struggles with depression. His story revealed that even the toughest and most successful individuals within our community are not immune to depression and anxiety. His story brought laughter and tears by both students and adults. His wife’s perspective brought to the forefront, how depression affects the entire family and can paralyze it, if it is ignored. The Potter’s ability to deal with it, as family through prayer and therapy was both uplifting and inspiring.”
Principal at Kapaun Mt. Carmel High School
“You obviously prepared well for relating your presentation to our business. I have heard nothing but positive responses. Your message and presence was another example of God’s perfectly placed gifts.”
“I am so thankful for you, because you gave me the courage to get my husband help even if he wouldn’t go willingly. This is only the beginning and we have a long road, but now we are on the right track.”
“My company invited Mark to speak at our most recent General Manager’s Retreat where we bring all of our GM’s in from all over the country for a 2 day event to socialize, share experiences and grow both personally and professionally. I have heard from several of my team members since Mark spoke to our group, and all of them had 150% positive feedback about the time we spent with Mark and would love the opportunity to spend time with him again.”
Nick J. Esterline, CCIM, S.E.C.
USD 215 – Lakin High School
USD 405 – Labette County Schools Staff development
Kapaun Mt Carmel High School student body and parent group
Pittsburg – Colgan Staff Inservice
USD 266 – Maize South High School student body
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