By Taylor Blackmon, Contributor
Last week David Poteet was named head coach of the Kennesaw State cross country program, director of track and field and cross country Andy Eggerth announced.
A Marietta native, Poteet’s journey back to Kennesaw includes an abundant background of running and coaching experience both before and after leaving Kennesaw.
As a long distance runner at Berry College, Poteet ran distances anywhere from 200-1500 meters. He also had a German coach during his career that helped him look at the different styles and techniques of European runners.
After graduating from Berry, Poteet returned and coached as a graduate assistant before arriving at Kennesaw College in the Mid 80’s where he coached from 1984-1986. He says his stint at Kennesaw has helped him to know the history and foundation of the school along with the athletic department and what it has grown to be.
“Coaching here in the mid 80’s helped me to know the history of the school,” Poteet said. “And the foundation of the athletic department in terms of when it started, how it started, and what it’s grown to. After leaving Kennesaw, I followed their program throughout the years because I always had that interest in it.”
Poteet not only has previous experience as a coach at KSU, but he also has a year’s experience as a high school coach at Carlton J. Kell High School where he was the assistant cross country and track and field middle distance and distance coach. Poteet’s experience at the high school level is something he feels will help him to be successful in his recruitment at the collegiate level.
“I’ve coached at both high school and college levels and that helps me a lot because I know what kids are going through coming out of college, and at the same time I know what to look for in a high school kid when they’re coming out of high school,” he said. “I know the type of quality we’re looking for, the type of student-athlete we’re looking for, and whether it’s a personality fit with the team and me with them.”
As KSU has transformed over the past 40 years from Kennesaw College to Kennesaw State University and gone from 7,000 students to 33,000 students, Poteet is excited about the changes he sees throughout the campus.
When it comes to Poteet’s coaching style, he believes in “run before fun,” and building positive relationships between himself and his runners; developing a family, as he described it. He is a strong believer in positive reinforcement, even when a player is doing something wrong.
“The first thing I want to touch on is the relationship [between the player and coach],” Poteet said. “The coach shouldn’t be a demander. It’s got to be done with mutual respect, and [as a coach], you show the athlete respect. I’m not a yeller. It’s all positive. Even when someone’s not doing something correctly, you stay positive, and you work with them and make something positive even when they’re off.”
Poteet expressed his excitement about the opportunity to develop the cross country program at Kennesaw State.
“We’re trying to prepare for life as well as running,” he said. “Grace and class and respect all sound like cliché words, but they’re very important to success here at the program. We have to change the image of runners in the metro area that it’s not just Kennesaw but that it’s a major college with some great things happening.”