Chartiers Valley athletic director Angie Potthoff is headed back to Notre Dame to work as the director of operations for women’s basketball.
Potthoff, a former WNBA player who has worked in various roles at the University of Notre Dame, including as assistant women’s basketball coach, has served as Chartiers Valley’s athletic director for five years. Her last day was Aug. 22.
“It’s been an interesting journey. I’ve learned so much,” said Potthoff, adding that she appreciates the opportunities she’s had to get to know so many people in the area and be a part of the Chartiers Valley community.
Dan Cardone, who worked as an athletic director in the region for more than 25 years, will serve as Chartiers Valley’s interim athletic director until the district names a replacement.
Cardone is well known in athletics throughout the region, having served as president of the Northern Athletic Directors’ Association and the WPIAL Athletic Directors’ Association. He also was an officer and member of the WPIAL and PIAA boards of control. He created the WPIAL Student Athlete Leadership Academy and the WPIAL Sportsmanship Summit.
A candidate likely will be presented to board members at their first meeting in September, said Superintendent Johannah Vanatta.
While district leaders say they’re happy for Potthoff and her new position, they’re also sad to see her go.
“Angie was a phenomenal athletic director and a great leader,” Vanatta said. “She was able to provide stability. She was able to provide a friendly face. She was always willing to work with students, do whatever she needed to do. She was everywhere. I don’t know how she managed to attend everything the way that she did. She will be deeply missed.”
A 1997 Penn State graduate, Potthoff played basketball in the American Basketball League, the first women’s professional league in the U.S. until it folded in 1998.
Potthoff went on to play a few seasons in the WNBA with the Minnesota Lynx.
An Erie native with family in the Pittsburgh region, she then took a job coaching at Robert Morris University for two seasons, then moved to Beaver High School, where she worked as a coach and recreation director for a few years.
Potthoff went on to become an assistant coach for the women’s basketball program at Notre Dame, a position she held for five years. When her daughter, Ellie Potthoff-Barber, was born, she moved to the role of associate director of operations and handling video, which she held for four years.
It was a connection with former Chartiers Valley Superintendent Brian White that led Potthoff to Chartiers Valley.
Looking back over the past five years, she doesn’t take direct credit for any of the championships won in the district.
“You hope to think that you had some part in it,” she said. “But obviously, it’s just, I guess, putting our coaches in the position to be successful is really the job of the AD.”
When interviewing any coach for a position, Potthoff always asks them: “How do you define success?”
To her, some of the most significant wins were watching programs grow and evolve.
“I love hearing, ‘Hey man, I have 18 more kids trying out this year than last year,” she said. “Or, ‘Hey, we’re going to have to add a second middle school soccer team because we have more kids that want to play this year than last year.’
“It’s just getting kids to participate, to be a part of something,” Potthoff said. “Those are the things I like hear. Or, seeing a coach kind of evolve and grow.”
Working in a public school system, Potthoff says she always makes sure to give a hug to other athletic directors and educators, because she knows their job isn’t easy.
As an athletic director, Potthoff also made sure that students were learning life lessons while playing sports. Her focus was on ensuring that they built relationships and learned what it takes to be a leader and team player through athletics, Vanatta said.
Potthoff is appreciative of all of the support she received from other athletic directors in the area and said they could rely upon each other. She also is appreciative of the open communication she had with leaders in the Chartiers Valley School District.
In its next athletic director, Chartiers Valley is looking for someone who “can continue what (Potthoff) started and continue to improve and carry us through,” Vanatta said.