Chris Potter: Hockey, Golf Coach Busy on the Greens and Ice
Q: Chris, youíre the head menís ice hockey coach and the head golf coach.
How do you manage doing both?
A: I have a strong passion for both sports and I enjoy coaching both teams.
It does get a little crazy, but being organized helps. Also, I have great
support for both programs. Lastly, I am very fortunate to coach great
student-athletes. They are very motivated and they know what it takes to
balance their academics with athletics, which is not always easy.
Q: Who are your assistant coaches?
A: Jim Langlois and Matt Plante are assistant coaches in hockey. Jeff
Gilarde is my assistant for golf. He has a great passion for the game and
loves working with the players. Matt has been with me for two years and has
been a tremendous asset for the program. We have been heavily recruiting for
the past two years and he has done a great job. Jim has been with Wesleyan
Hockey for more than 20 years and has a lot of experience in coaching.
Having good people working with you is extremely important.
Q: How long have you coached at Wesleyan?
A: I have coached the hockey team for three years and the golf team for two
and a half years.
Q: Do you consider ice hockey and golf at all similar?
A: I would have to say yes and no. I think the obvious reason for it not
being the same is hockey is more of a team sport than golf. Golf you are out
there on your own and you have to deal with ups and downs on your own. Golf
can really test you mentally. Hockey from a coaching perspective is more
difficult. We practice four days a week, focusing on how to get the team to
work together to achieve our goal: winning. The team relies on individuals
and the individuals rely on the team. I think where they may overlap is
dealing with people on an individual basis. Coaching golf I tend to rely on
coaching the individual and that can carry over to hockey. Not everyone is
motivated the same way. Coaching golf has helped my coaching ability with
Q: How old were you when you began playing sports?
A: I started playing hockey when I was 4. I also played baseball growing up.
Q: At the University of Connecticut, you were a four-year ice hockey
letterman, an All-American as a senior and a two-time all-NECAC and all-New
England selection. When did you decide that you wanted to be a coach and
where did you first coach?
A: At first, I always wanted to play. I was playing in Roanoke, Virginia
after college and I really started to understand the game and learn more
about coaching. I played for Frank Anzalone and he had a strong passion for
the game and coaching. He was extremely detailed and always prepared. I
finished my third year and received a call from my college coach Bruce
Marshall. They started a graduate assistant program and asked me if I was
interested. It was a great opportunity to get into coaching and further my
Q: What did you major in at UConn?
A: I graduated with an economics degree and earned my masterís in education.
Q: What classes do you, or have you taught, as an adjunct associate
professor of physical education?
A: I teach a golf class, intro to skating and a fitness class.
Q: In 1997, you got involved with the USA Hockey-Team New England as an
instructor, assistant coach, and later as a head coach. Are you still
involved with this team?
A: I was fortunate to get involved with Team New England when I coached at
UConn. Jim Tortorella at Colby College was the program director. I am still
involved today and have also coached at the national festival for the 17 age
group. New England is one of many districts in USA hockey. Every summer, New
England runs a 13,14,15, and 16 camp in Burlington, Vermont. In conjunction
with those camps we select players to participate in the national camps held
in St. Cloud, Minnesota and Rochester, New York. For the past six years I
have coached at the 17 festival, which this year is July 7-14. It is a great
opportunity to see the best 17ís in the country and learn more about the
game. Dallas Bossort, the NESCAC Rookie of the Year, played for Team Dakota
at the 17 festival.
Q: Do you follow the National Hockey League?
A: I do follow the NHL and I am very pleased with the rule changes and the
leagues focus on improving the game. I am a Bruins fan but disappointed with
the trade of Joe Thorton. I always enjoy watching the Red Wings play.
Q: What months does the hockey season span? Golf season?
A: Golf has two seasons. We have a fall schedule and a spring schedule. The
golf team will begin practice in September. We get right into it. The
NESCACís are Sept. 9-10. Itís like playing for the championship the first
week of practice. We finish the fall season in October and hockey picks up
Nov. 1. Hockey feels like two seasons because we have six to seven games
before exam break and Christmas break. The players are off the ice for about
two weeks. They return the first week of January and we play every weekend
into the first weekend in March. After the playoffs and depending how far we
go it usually ends middle of March right before Spring Break.
Q: Where does the golf team practice and play?
A: We have a great relationship with Lyman Orchards in Middlefield. They
have two 18-hole courses and a great practice facility.
Q: In your opinion, what makes an ideal student-athlete? Would you like to
mention any individuals who will be key players on the teams next year?
A: I think we have a lot of the ideal student-athletes here at Wesleyan. You
have to be self-motivated and utilize good management skills to be able to
balance both. We have a good core of players coming back next year and the
addition of some new faces. Will Bennett has been the teamís captain for two
years and he will be joined by Ryan Hendrickson. Last season our goaltending
emerged. Freshman Mike Palladino did a tremendous job in the first half and
when Dave Scardella returned he stepped up and helped our team into the
playoffs, which earned him NESCAC 2nd Team. I was also very pleased with our
D-core last year the sophomores took another step and the freshman class
really adjusted well. Dallas Bossort was recognized as the NESCAC Rookie of
Q: Do you continue to play hockey and golf aside from coaching the sports?
A: I do more golf than hockey, but I do occasionally skate. There is a
charity league in Rhode Island I get to every now and then.
Q: Do you have any free time?
A: My wife, Lisa, and I have 15 nieces and nephews, so between spending time
with them and hockey and golf, I am always busy.
Q: What are your thoughts on working in Wesleyanís Athletic Department?
A: I have really enjoyed working here at Wesleyan. Duke Snyder built a
tremendous hockey program and impressed a lot of people and they continue to
give back. I have been amazed at the support. I look forward to adding to
these two programs and continue to improve them everyday.
Olivia Bartlett, The Wesleyan Connection