Former Professional Baseball Player JJ Potrikus Starts Coaching Career at FM

20160601_212906.jpgIf you have been to a Varsity Baseball game this year, you probably saw the unfamiliar face of JJ Potrikus, the new baseball coach.
Coach Potrikus played professionally with the Gary Indiana Railcats and the Trinidad Triggers. With a degree in childhood education from Cortland, Coach Potrikus retired from the league to begin his career in coaching.
A graduate from Cicero North Syracuse, Potrikus grew up in the CNY area. His high school interests were not limited to baseball. “I played basketball until I was a freshman and then I got cut. I actually was involved in the marching band so I did marching band and I did jazz and I was actually probably a better trumpet player than I was a baseball player,” he says.
Coach Potrikus started playing baseball at seven years old, when he was immediately moved up from T-ball to pitching. “I knew I wanted to be a pitcher from the moment I threw a baseball,” he says.
His parents were a huge part of getting him started in baseball. “My dad got me involved. He wasn’t really a great baseball player, but he had a great work ethic. My mother did as well. It really pushed me to be who I am today. At times being pushed was [difficult]. I didn’t love it at the time, but when I look back at it, that motivating factor, being pushed beyond what I really wanted to do, was what made me who I am today and the hard worker that I am today.”
Potrikus’ desire to keep baseball in his life is what pushed him to become a coach.
“He brings a since of youth,” says assistant coach Hays. “That’s going to be important. I think he’s going to bring a new perspective. He was a division 1 pitcher, and then he played in the minor leagues. I think bringing that perspective of the next level is going to be important to our kids to see and hear what it sounds like to be there.”
As a coach, Potrikus brings a lot of energy and enthusiasm to the team. “He is an intense guy who has a great since of humor. A young, energetic guy as well who will do great things for our program,” commented Hays.
“I’m a little bit crazy at times,” admits Potrikus. “Not in a negative way, but I am off the walls. You come to the game and you’ll see my energy and enthusiasm and I’ll hopefully pass that passion along to the players.”
Although Potrikus is new, he already has his sights set on the league championship. “The goal for the season is definitely to win another league championship. They’ve won the past [four] years in a row, I believe. My goal would be to make it into the sectionals and definitely put up a strong showing in the sections for our first year. It would be great to win it.”
Even though Coach Potrikus is hoping to win the league championship, his goal for his players stretches way beyond the baseball field. “My expectations are that they turn into young men. Every kid that I coached I have that goal. More than just becoming a good baseball player, I use sports and baseball specifically as a preparation for life and the adversity that they are going to encounter on the baseball field they’ll encounter in life. How they deal with those situations, how they handle that adversity on the field, and how I teach them to do that will hopefully give them good life lessons for when they face adversity like that later on in life.”
FM welcomes an enthusiastic new coach in J.J. Potrikus.

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