Mark Potter was a career head basketball coach, dedicating 30 years to the profession. He began teaching and coaching at Cheney, Kansas High School in 1987. He led the Cardinals to two state tournament appearances.
Coach Potter then headed to Kapaun Mt. Carmel High School where he also led them to a state tournament appearance. During his third tenure at South High School in Wichita, the team finished third in the state tournament. After one year at South High, Potter accepted the challenge of re-starting the men’s basketball program at Newman University after an 11-year hiatus. In only the second year of the program, Mark’s team made their first national appearance. After 10 years of competing at the NAIA level, he again led the Jets as they made the transition to the NCAA Division II level.
Coach has the most victories and highest winning percentage in Newman University’s program history. He coached over 800 games during his 30-year tenure, and his teams have been successful at all levels. He was named Coach of the Year five times and has been named as one of the Top 15 Most Influential People in the Wichita Sports World. Mark was recently honored as an inductee into the Wichita Sports Hall of Fame.
In 2017, he left the coaching profession to pursue his passion for educating and motivating people from all walks of life. He and his wife Nanette founded their business, D2UP. They now travel the country speaking to businesses, non-profits, and schools on many topics, including mental toughness and motivation.
Coach Potter’s greatest passion lies in his personal battle with severe depression. Thirteen years ago, Mark knew something wasn’t right, and he began a downward spiral into a world of darkness. He missed eight games and 25 practices due to severe depression. Since that time, he has been on a crusade to educate and encourage others who suffer 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. To date, they have delivered their signature speech “The Silent Epidemic” in 26 states.
Mark Potter is a graduate of Cowley County Community College and Newman University. He was a two-sport athlete at both Cowley County and Newman. He has been inducted into the Cowley County and Newman University Halls of Fame. Mark and Nanette have been married over 30 years and have two children, Zechariah and Chelsey. They also have two granddaughters, Sterling and Kinsey, and are eagerly awaiting the birth of their third granddaughter!
“The Silent Epidemic”
This keynote provides a real, relevant, and raw story of Mark’s personal experience with severe depression. You can have victory over mental illness and Mark wants to share his experiences to help others. When appropriate and invited, Nanette (Mark’s wife) will also share her perspective and give the caregiver practical suggestions to assist in the situation.
“Toughness vs Talent”
This keynote shares practical solutions and strategies to get the most out of your talent. These topics can impact business professionals, educators, students, or athletes. Practical ways to increase your mental toughness are given, so you can reach your ultimate potential.
This keynote provides business leaders, school administration, teachers, and individuals with strategies to best promote a “team” environment and take leadership to another level. Teamwork, absenteeism, and work ethic are common concerns for employers. Intentional strategies will be given to offer solutions to these problems.
“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.”
“Hands down Mark Potter is one of the most dynamic and captivating speakers I have ever heard! His message was very inspiring and extremely important. I highly recommend him!!”
Daniel Blake, Tutor and Testing Coordinator, Colby Community College
“Thanks to Mark Potter for speaking to MHS community members on important topics that cannot be ignored! Mark and his wife are on their way to saving many lives.”
Katelyn Loecker, JAG-K Career Specialist, McPherson High School
“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.”
“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.”
Jeff Lange, Red Guard Owner
“Thank you very much for speaking to our faculty today. You are correct when you stated that this is your calling. You are helping many people. I can’t help but (selfishly) think that God put you here in Pittsburg today for me to hear.”
“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 students 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.”
Adam, Melichar, Counselor, Maize South High School
“Mark Potter came to Cherryvale Middle/High School to speak to our students in the afternoon, and our community in the evening. He was great to work with and his communication prior to the event was very professional. Mark wanted to make sure he was giving a program that WE wanted and he wanted to tailor it to our needs. Mark has a very outgoing personality and he was very personable and friendly to everyone with whom he came in contact. His presentation was real and very impactful. Mark is a very passionate speaker. Many students wanted to speak with him after his presentation and he was very excited to be able to speak with them on a one-on-one basis. Mark will make an impact with any group he speaks to.”
Scott Lambdin, Principal, Cherryvale High School
“I have known Mark and Nanette for over twenty years. This dynamic duo gets to the heart of the matter by speaking frankly to students and parents about the silent epidemic of depression. Mark captivated our high school students by sharing his own personal struggles with depression. Nanette’s story speaks to the family members who often have to make the difficult decision of where and when to go for help. If you are looking for a high-energy speaker that teenagers and parents can relate to, and someone to outline concrete strategies to combat depression, then Coach Potter is your man! I would encourage any school to invite the Potters to speak.”
Vanessa Harshberger, Principal, Bishop Carroll Catholic 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 to both students and adults. His wife’s perspective brought to the forefront of how depression affects the entire family and can paralyze it if it is ignored. The Potter’s ability to deal with it as a family through prayer and therapy was both uplifting and inspiring.”
Chris Bloomer, Principal, Kapaun Mt. Carmel Catholic High School
Cheney, Kansas “outside of Wichita”