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Jonathan Potter named Robert Morris’ men’s soccer head coach

Photo courtesy Presbyterian College

From Robert Morris University report

RMU Vice President and Director of Athletics Chris King ’94 announced Tuesday Jonathan Potter has been named head coach of the men’s soccer program.

“We’re thrilled to announce Jonathan Potter as the next head men’s soccer coach and we welcome him and his family to Robert Morris University,” King said.

“We set out to attract the top head soccer coach candidates to lead what has become one of the rising soccer programs in the Horizon League. Coach Potter set himself apart from other candidates as a leader for multiple soccer programs that have won conference championships and competed in the NCAA Tournament. We talked to industry professionals across the college soccer landscape and it was a universal theme that Coach Potter is regarded as a highly desired NCAA Division I head coach candidate based on the remarkable job building and leading the soccer program as the head coach at Presbyterian College.”

Potter, a native of Winston-Salem, N.C., joins RMU after spending the last seven seasons as the head coach at Presbyterian. Taking the reins of a program that finished last in RPI in NCAA Division I the season prior to being named head coach of the Blue Hose, in just his second season Potter guided Presbyterian to the 2017 Big South Conference Tournament title and a bid to the NCAA Tournament. Last season, the Blue Hose finished with a mark of 10-5-2 (.647), helping Presbyterian notch consecutive winning seasons for the first time ever and in the process establishing program records for wins and winning percentage.

“I’m honored to be named the next men’s soccer head coach at RMU,” Potter said. “I would like to thank Vice President and Director of Athletics Chris King and the search committee for giving me this great opportunity. I also want to thank Athletic Directors Brian Reese, Danny Sterling and Rob Acunto for their support during my time at Presbyterian. It’s a privilege to serve the student-athletes at Robert Morris. I’m excited to build on the great legacy built by many former student-athletes and coaches, and my family and I are delighted to join the RMU family.”

Over 25 student-athletes earned All-Big South accolades during Potter’s tenure at Presbyterian, while off the field the Blue Hose posted the highest team grade point average (GPA) in the athletic department during the 2021-22 academic year, finishing at 3.38. The same year the men’s soccer program also led the Presbyterian Athletic Department in community service hours. In each of his seven seasons as the head coach at Presbyterian, the Blue Hose were bestowed the United Soccer Coaches Team Academic Award for finishing with a team GPA of 3.00 or better.

“Jonathan’s clear vision to elevate the RMU soccer program was evident from the beginning of our process, as he was quite passionate and enthusiastic in our discussions in his desire to become the next head coach,” King said. “His combination of experience, professionalism, passion and preparation stood out as we look to move our men’s soccer program to new heights. We are excited for Coach Potter to write the next chapter of success of our men’s soccer program and compete for Horizon League championships and NCAA Tournament bids.”

In Potter’s first season at Presbyterian in 2016, Potter orchestrated the third largest turnaround in NCAA Division I, as the Blue Hose posted seven wins, including a 4-4 (.500) mark in the Big South. As the No. 5 seed in the 2016 Big South Tournament, PC knocked off No. 4 seed Liberty, 2-1. That set up Presbyterian’s magical run to the NCAA Tournament in 2017, and Potter’s guidance culminated in 2021 with the first winning season in program history at the NCAA Division I level as the Blue Hose finished at 7-6-3 (.531).

Prior to being named the head coach at Presbyterian, Potter spent six seasons as an assistant coach at Elon from 2011-16. The Phoenix appeared in the NCAA Tournament four times (2011, 2012, 2013, 2015) and were ranked as high as No. 8 in the country during the 2015 season. Elon claimed the 2012 Southern Conference regular-season crown and was also a three-time Southern Conference Tournament (2011, 2012, 2103) champion, while in 2015 the Phoenix were regular season co-champions of the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA).

Potter was a four-year starter at Chowan University from 2006 to 2009, appearing in 68 out of a possible 69 matches during his career, including 59 starts for the NCAA Division II Hawks. Potter earned a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education with a concentration in sport management from Chowan in 2010 and also earned a Master of Science degree in athletic coaching education from West Virginia University in 2012. At the professional level, Potter played for the Northern Virginia Royals Super 20, helping the team reach the 2008 North American finals. Potter also spent four weeks in the summer of 2009 training in Argentina with semi-professional Club Atletico Rivadavia de Necochea.

Beginning his coaching career at Davidson College, Potter spent the 2010 season as the director of operations with the Wildcats. In the summer of 2011, Potter served as an assistant coach with the Carolina Dynamo of the United Soccer League (USL). He helped tutor a team that claimed the South Atlantic Division Championship and qualified for the US Open Cup against other professional clubs. Potter, who owns a United States Soccer Federation National A-Senior License as well as an advanced diploma from United Soccer Coaches, has also various experience coaching at the youth level.

Potter and his wife, Melissa, have two daughters, Nora and Stella.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING ABOUT JONATHAN POTTER

David Costa, Head Coach, Belmont University

“Jonathan Potter is a terrific hire for Robert Morris and their men’s soccer program. He has shown the ability to maximize every opportunity and has experienced success in every step of his career as both a head coach and an assistant. I look forward to following his success at RMU.”

Dustin Fonder, Head Coach, Campbell University
“Coach Potter is an excellent hire. He has a great reputation of doing more with less. His teams are always well prepared and dialed into the details. He will build off the recent success at RMU and help them compete for championships. More importantly, Jonathan will help his players grow off the field, in the classroom and in the community.”

Bobby Muuss, Head Coach, Wake Forest University
“What a great hire for Robert Morris. After knowing Jon since his youth playing days here in Winston-Salem, to say I’m proud and happy for him would be an understatement. He built the program at Presbyterian into a conference contender and brought them to its first NCAA Tournament, and I have no doubt he’ll do the same at RMU. He’s a great fit to continue to build that program.”

Chris Little, Assistant Coach, Colorado Rapids (MLS)
“I’m delighted for JP and this opportunity. He has worked extremely hard at Elon and Presbyterian and earned this role. He has consistently shown an ability to overachieve and elevate programs by developing players and teams. I’m excited to see his ability to continue the growth of the program at Robert Morris.”

Darren Powell, Head Coach and Director of Player Development, Inter Miami CF II
“Jonathan is a great hire for RMU following the success of Jason O’Keefe. Jonathan will continue his success at building programs through hard work on the field and through recruiting. The players will enjoy working for the team based on the principles and values he’ll set forth. Jonathan is a tireless worker who takes pride in everything that will connect the program and its success. I will continue to follow RMU and fully expect continued growth and success!”

John Krysinsky has covered soccer and other sports for many years for various publications and media outlets. He is also author of 'Miracle on the Mon' -- a book about the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC, which chronicles the club, particularly the early years of Highmark Stadium with the narrative leading up to and centered around a remarkable match that helped provide a spark for the franchise. John has covered sports for Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, DK Pittsburgh Sports, Pittsburgh Sports Report, has served as color commentator on Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC broadcasts, and worked with OPTA Stats and broadcast teams for US Open Cup and International Champions Cup matches held in the US. Krysinsky also served as the Head Men’s Soccer Coach at his alma mater, Point Park University, where he led the Pioneers to the first-ever winning seasons and playoff berths (1996-98); head coach of North Catholic boys (2007-08), associate head coach of Shady Side Academy boys (2009-2014).

PItt MF Michael Sullivan

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