Under Potter, Tide ready to defend national title

Kevin Connell

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With the Alabama women’s golf team set to tee off their season this Sunday in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, the entire program finds itself in unusual territory, but nobody feels it more than head coach Mic Potter.

Never before had Potter won a national championship in his previous 28 years of coaching, until he helped lead the Crimson Tide to their first title ever with a one-stroke win over the University of Southern California at the Vanderbilt Legends Club late last May.

“It was funny at first, a lot of discussion about it, ‘can we see your ring’ kind of thing,” head coach Mic Potter said. “But that died down pretty fast when we realized we were going to have a pretty good team again.”

Potter was named as the head coach of the Alabama women’s golf team in the summer of 2005 after spending 22 years at Furman University. There, he led the Paladins to 15 NCAA Championship berths, finishing as runners-up in 1987. This is coming from a school with an enrollment of just 2,500 students playing in the Southern Conference.

In his first year at Alabama, Potter immediately carried over his success from Furman, leading the Tide to only its second NCAA Championship appearance ever after a surprising postseason run. The program hasn’t looked back since.

Potter has since matched that mark, advancing to the NCAA Championship every year since he took over at the Capstone. With one of the deepest teams in the program’s history, he will look to make it eight years straight this season.

“I think as a team we’re just ready to go,” junior Stephanie Meadow said. “We’ve worked really hard all winter, all offseason at getting better.”

Although he is still coaching with many more years ahead of him, Potter has been a member of the NGCA Hall of Fame since 1994. Now entering his 30th year of coaching, he has been named Coach of the Year 12 times (eight in the Southern Conference and four in the SEC), and has led his teams to 52 tournament titles.

Out of those 52 career victories, 16 of them have come in his seven years as head coach at Alabama. In the 31 years before he took over, the program won only 19 tournaments.

“We’re a very motivated team as people and individuals,” Meadow said. “I think we kind of look at [each tournament] as not as much as pressure, but more of a challenge. In a way, we try and think ‘okay, we can’t do the same thing over. We’ve got to up our game and do better.’”

The most telling statistic of Potter’s career, however, is 13 – the number of former players under his watch who have gone on to play in the Ladies Professional Golf Association.

“He knows exactly what I’m working on, and if he sees something he can point it out right away, because he knows exactly what it needs to look like, what I need to be doing,” senior Jennifer Kirby said. “I don’t know if I’ve improved tremendously with my skills [under Potter], but how I play, I’ve improved so much because of Mic.”

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