Changing times at Hardin Valley

Potter promoted to football boss

HARDIN VALLEY --- Hardin Valley Academy’s new head football coach is no stranger to the school or the program.

Defensive coordinator Mike Potter was tapped early last week to replace Wes Jones, who had been the only head coach in the program’s 11-year history.

Jones resigned early last month to take a job as an assistant coach at Science Hill High School in Johnson City. He made the move to be closer to his family.

And new principal Rob Speas, who replaced Sallee Reynolds (now working in the Knox district office), announced Potter was promoted to the head coaching position after spending five years as an assistant.

“The hope was that we were going to stay in-house and that way the assistants could stay in place,” said Potter, who has served as Hawks’ defensive coordinator since 2016. “Wes laid a solid foundation and he worked his tail off establishing the program and I’m just looking to build off what he started.”

The new season is around the corner and the first order of business for Potter is to assemble a staff. as four assistants left alongside Jones.

“We’re down five coaches right now,” he said. “I’m hoping to find some decent coaches before the start of the dead period.”

He is uncertain whether or not he’ll continue to be defensive coordinator.

“That’s up in the air right now,” he said. “If I can find a quality coach who can do that, then he can do it.

“If not, I’ll continue to handle those duties.”

He’s thrilled to be HVA’s next football coach.

“I’m just thankful and blessed to have this opportunity,” Potter said.

At Hardin Valley, “We have great community support and it takes more than just one person to run a successful program,” Potter said. “Any successful program needs the support of the community.

“You need support from the community whether people donate time to help out or whether they make monetary donations.”

Potter knows that a tough schedule awaits the Hawks as they play in the extremely competitive Region 1-6A with the likes of Farragut, Bearden, Jefferson County, Morristown West, Science Hill and Kingsport Dobyns-Bennett.

“We play in a tough league and in our region, we don’t get any nights off,” he said.

The region schedule packs plenty of punch. But the Hawks won’t have any walkovers on their non-region schedule. Hardin Valley’s non-league slate features showdowns against Oak Ridge, Knoxville West, Cleveland and defending Class 5A state champion Knoxville Central.

Potter and wife, Lorelei, married in 1994. They have two children. Jake is in the process of earning a doctorate at Clemson, and Logan is pursuing a degree in chemical engineering at the University of Tennessee.