CEDAR RAPIDS — Stephanie and Jim Potts not only have a love for each other, but also a love for basketball.
The two met in high school and have been married for 34 years. They have been coaching Xavier girls’ basketball together the last 16 years.
“I like coaching together because we compliment each other,” Jim said. “She sees things that I do not always think about looking for and vice versa. Plus, she tends to know more about how girls think.”
Jim is the head coach for the junior varsity team and Stephanie is an assistant for the varsity. Along with coaching Xavier girls’ basketball, they help develop future Saints through the feeder program, Bulldogs.
“I truly love coaching both the younger and older girls,” Stephanie said. “The younger kids love to learn, are still goofy and want your approval. With the high school kids, you get to see their chemistry get better and better throughout the season and they understand more.”
Even after many seasons and countless hours in the gym, they have not lost their passion for coaching.
“Coaching keeps me engaged in the game and makes me feel a lot younger,” Jim said.
Stephanie and Jim have been surrounded by basketball for most of their lives and played for many years. Two of their three children, Jeremy and Jennifer, participated in basketball growing up. Jennifer was part of Xavier’s 2005 state championship team.
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“Basketball has taught me many life lessons that I still use today,” Stephanie said. “It has taught me hard work, teamwork and how to overcome adversity.”
While they have learned many lessons throughout their years of coaching and playing basketball, they also have learned a lot about each other.
“James has a big heart and wants all kids to give their best effort all the time,” Stephanie said. “He is very good at making sure each kid feels important and valued.”
For Stephanie and Jim, they want to impact their players off the court, supporting them in whatever they do outside of basketball.
“I hope my players know that I always want what is best for them and that I would do anything in my power for them,” Stephanie said. “I do not just care about them as players, but as individuals as well.”
Like some things in life, basketball and marriage can have peaks and valleys.
“We both love coaching and it allows us to spend more time together,” Stephanie said. “We do not always agree on how to handle certain aspects of the game, but it gives us a chance to resolve the issue. Everyone knows communication is the key to a successful team and marriage.”