LHS gets new football coachPublished 9:25pm Tuesday, March 5, 2013
Lakeland High School found an ideal candidate for its head football coach position right here in Suffolk as it recently named King’s Fork High School defensive coordinator Bryan Potts to the post. The position opened after former coach Glenwood Ferebee became the quarterback coach at Hampton University.
Potts, 35, has nine years of coaching experience, starting with a two-year stint at Warwick High School as an assistant under Thomas Reamon, currently head coach at Landstown High School. He initially served as defensive backs coach under Cecil Phillips in his first year at King’s Fork. Phillips promoted him to defensive coordinator the next season, and he has continued to serve in that position for the last six years.
“I’m excited,” Potts said. “I’m looking forward to the challenge. The last seven years, I’ve really been preparing for this position — more so, the last couple years. So, I’m excited. I’ve always been intrigued by having my own program, implementing my own ideas, putting together my own staff and just taking everything that I’ve learned as an assistant coach, as a defensive coordinator of the past years and bringing it to my program.”
Lakeland athletic director Gregory Rountree explained what made Potts a uniquely qualified choice.
“It was a plus for us, because this is a guy that wasn’t in our building, but kind of knew our kids, because being at King’s Fork, he was able to scout our kids, and he knew their strengths and their weaknesses,” Rountree said. “So, it would make it an easy transition for our kids, because sometimes that’s the key, the kids being able to transition from one coach to the next.”
The familiarity has also brought instant respect. The Cavaliers have generally posed a significant challenge to the Bulldogs, particularly this past season, when they dealt them a heartbreaking, last-minute loss in King’s Fork’s first playoff game ever.
“You recognize talent, and you respect it,” Potts said. “The competition was there; you didn’t like them so much, competing against them. They were one of the teams that you definitely had to, as a defensive coordinator, make sure you dot all your I’s and cross all your T’s and make sure things were covered, because there were great athletes over here.”
King’s Fork head coach Joe Jones had an understandably mixed reaction to losing a valued coach, but favored being excited for his former defensive leader.
“Most of all, I’m happy for Bryan,” Jones said. “He was ready to break out and find a head coaching job, and this is an excellent opportunity for him and to be close.”
“It was bittersweet, because I hated losing him,” he said. “He did such a great job for us and our kids responded well to him, but I was glad to see that opportunity, because I know how happy I was when I got my first opportunity.”
Potts played safety under Coach Reamon at Newport News’ Homer L. Ferguson High School, where he first started thinking that when his playing days were over he wanted to continue his relationship with the game.
“The aspirations were always there, but I just didn’t know how soon I would get involved in it. But I knew, by some point in my life, that it was almost like a fixed marriage for me, football and coach,” he said.
In high school, he played with future National Football League players like Michael Vick, current quarterback with the Philadelphia Eagles, and Aaron Brooks, former quarterback for the New Orleans Saints.
“So, I’ve kind of been around those high-quality athletes all my life, either playing with them, competing with them, and I think it just helped me get to this position, learning things from them, and I still have a relationship with some of those guys to this day,” he said.
He continued playing at the college level at Virginia State University, where he was nicknamed “Coach” because of all the initiative and special steps he would take to try to stay ahead of the competition.
Potts stated his prime objective entering his first job as a head coach.
“The growth and development of these young men is going to be my top priority, as well as the staff that I put together,” he said. “And when you do that, the wins will come. Everything else will fall into place.”