Kirk Potter is far from the coaching limelight these days and loving the separation.
It was less than three years ago that he coached Cleveland High School to a state football championship, but he has found a new passion – or, perhaps the better way to say it is, he resumed a passion.
Potter lives in Frisco, Texas, north of Dallas, and is a teacher and coach at Huffines Middle School in nearby Lewisville.
He teaches some physical education classes, and coaches football, basketball and track and field.
It’s a far cry from his coaching days in New Mexico.
“I gave up the best job in the state,” Potter said in a telephone interview earlier this week. “I did it because I knew I was tired of all of it.”
When he left Rio Rancho, he moved to Texas. He is afforded quality time with family, gone is the cauldron of Friday night football, and he was able to get back to what he’s always loved but had little time for:
Potter, 58, is a first-time author.
He wrote a novel titled “The Chronicles of Rusty” and it is being rolled out slowly this year.
“I wanted to write the book, and have time to do all the things I’m doing now,” Potter said.
Asked to summarize the book, Potter said it was a potpourri of ideas.
“I wrote it as a good, old-fashioned adventure novel,” he said.
Briefly, he said it was a story of friendship. Of the nature of the universe. Of heaven and hell. Good versus evil.
“And built into a science-fiction/fantasy thing,” Potter said.
The title character narrates the book in the first person, Potter said. Rusty is the writer, “but I wouldn’t say Rusty is me,” he added. “I didn’t want Rusty to be me. There is a lot of me in Rusty, but it was not purposefully meant to be myself.”
The book speaks of a friendship between Rusty and Ham; Potter based the Ham character on an old friend who died many years ago from cancer.
“It was just kind of the story of him, the two of us, and fed into an overall view of what the universe is about.”
The novel is ambitious, as Potter delves into heaven and hell and attempts to define them. But, he said, it is to serve a “fun and active story.”
Potter said he had always been a writer, although not professionally. He toyed with it from time to time, and the Rusty novel actually was a project he began before he coached his first game at Cleveland.
“I wrote probably 20,000 words, but after the state championship, I just kind of came back to it with a lot of purpose,” he said. “I ended up rewriting half of what I already wrote.”
He first envisioned Rusty as a short story, but after those 20,000 words, he realized he had not yet fully mined the narrative.
“I wanted to get more of the themes (into the book) that I had in my head,” Potter said. “I realized I needed to create something that was going to bring more of what I wanted to talk about (to life).”
In deciding to push forward and complete this novel, Potter said he went to a couple of seminars, and sought out advice on how to pick a genre.
Indeed, “The Chronicles of Rusty” covers many themes, including time travel.
Potter will do a promotional blitz in New Mexico starting in mid-July.
He said he does not believe that any bookstores are carrying it on their shelves, but said interested readers could order a copy through Amazon or Barnes & Noble, or the book could be downloaded.
The novel is published under the name W.K. Potter.
He finished it last year, but, Potter said, he learned that first-time authors are not exactly treated like John Grisham or Dan Brown. It takes extreme effort and some good fortune to get a first novel published.
“It drove me crazy,” Potter said. “Just to find a publisher, to get the thing done, that’s a whole ‘nother story all unto itself. Once I worked my deal with Tate (Publishing), they’ve been extremely slow getting everything done, but for first-time writers, that’s the way it goes.”
Potter in July is scheduled to speak to coaches during North-South week in Albuquerque. He’ll also be plugging the book in Carlsbad and Roswell, two places where he’s lived and coached.
Asked about this being a passion project for him, one of the most fascinating things Potter revealed was that he suffers from “a little bit of dyslexia.”
He said he took all kinds of typing classes, but “I still couldn’t tell you the letters on the board.”
So it was a slow process to get “The Chronicles of Rusty” out of his head and onto the page.
But he clearly is thrilled about having completed the book, and about how he said it has been received so far. He hopes that it is the first in a series. After all, he said, “Rusty” ends with a “to be continued.”
“I loved every minute of it,” Potter said.