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A HOLLISTON ATHLETICS CHAMPION AND PIONEER

From Tom Laronga

A HOLLISTON ATHLETICS CHAMPION AND PIONEER

In the 1940-1950’s girls had no sports instructions or teams to play on until they reached high school. As a result it was very difficult for them to be proficient. Thankfully Title 9 was passed in 1972 and sports programs for all ages sprang up for young girls. For someone as old as I am, it is great to see how really good they have become, which also speaks well for their coaching. Before these programs came into existence, it was very difficult for them to find ways to play and improve their skills.

I would like to pass on some of my memories of how one super young athlete found her way to improve and excel. Her name is Diane Potter, my classmate from Holliston High School, class of 1953. Yes, that presently makes us elderly. I recall that in the 1940’s Diane would come to Goodwill Park in the summer to play baseball with the boys’ park team. This was not a problem, since Diane was as good as the boys were. After reaching Holliston High School, she excelled every year in basketball and softball, the only two sports offered. She was captain in both sports her senior year as well as being a league all star in both sports.

After graduating from high school, she attended and graduated from Springfield College. She was then hired by Holliston to start their very first physical education program. All during the 1960’s she was playing world class softball with the Cochituate Corvettes and was a three- time all star in the Eastern Women’s Major League. She also played in four world softball tournaments.

After teaching the Holliston physical education program for a number of years, she was hired as a teacher by Springfield College. Here she began the women’s softball program, coaching for 21 years. Her softball team’s record during her tenure was 227 wins and 123 losses, including 4 undefeated seasons with a record of 25 wins in her final season. She was named Coach of the Year twice in the Northeast 8 Softball League where Springfield College played.

Diane took her Springfield College softball teams to the Netherlands to play the Dutch National teams in 1971, 1975 and 1982. While there she was invited to give softball clinics and was awarded the Silver Medallion by the Royal Dutch Baseball/Softball Association. She is the only woman to ever receive this honor. She was also invited to give clinics in Italy and Aruba.

Diane was inducted into the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics Hall of Fame in 1986 and the New Agenda Sports Hall of Fame in 1988. Then she was also inducted into the Springfield College Athletics Hall of Fame. Diane is such a legend at Springfield College that they have named their new Softball Complex “Potter Field,” an honor well deserved.

You can see that Diane has been highly successful in women’s athletics, but that is not all. She and Lynn V. Johnson co-wrote a series of books (3 editions) entitled Softball Steps to Success. These three editions are aimed at beginner and intermediate softball players as well as coaches of those levels. These three editions have sold over 18,000 copies worldwide.

As you can see, Diane’s achievements in girls’ and women’s athletics began well before the existence of programs available today. Her achievements began at Goodwill Park in 1940’s and continued well into adulthood. She is considered by her peers as one of the first pioneers in women’s and girls’ athletics. She is another example of the champions that graduated from Holliston High School, taking her talents to very high levels.

Some of this information was taken from an article written by Deb Parker that gave me a further insight to Diane’s career.

PS: Yes, Diane is still an active athlete, playing golf 2 to 3 times a week, and I am sure she is playing very well.

The Publishers

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