Last week the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference named Clay Pottinger the South Division Coach of the Year. Now to some this may be a surprise as Pottinger is a rookie head coach of the Red Deer College Kings basketball team, but in reality Pottinger isn’t a new coach at the post-secondary level.
“I’ve had some success in the league before,” said Pottinger, the former five-year Kings University College head coach. “But to come back and be blessed with having the success we had in the second half of the year, to me that was a big part.”
Humility may be another reason Pottinger was awarded coach of the year.
“Coach of the year, in my mind, is really team of the year because at the end of the day, those are the guys getting all the baskets and making those defensive plays.”
After 12 years of coaching at the post secondary level, Pottinger knows a thing or two. So what’s the secret to his success?
“The advice that I’d give is the advice that I learned this year, because I’m still learning as a coach — the bottom line is you have to be principled and stick to your guns.”
Earlier in the season Pottinger stuck to his guns and made changes to his lineup — a gutsy call. “I really thought that when we made the changes at Christmas that we would end up losing more games, but I was prepared to do that, in order to maintain the expectations that we had set forth.”
Pottinger let go of talented players in order to get those unexpected results. He stuck to his guns and his team responded.
But that’s in the past. “There’s been a fair bit of dwelling on the changes that we made at Christmas time, and I think it kind of puts me in a position to say sort of negative things about the guys that left, but I don’t want to leave that impression at all,” said Pottinger. “We had to make some changes, we did and we’re just moving forward.”
The Kings move forward as they head into the conference championship final four at Mount Royal.