Notre Dame to make first appearance in the conference challenge event (7:30 p.m. ET; live TV on Big Ten Network).
Angie Potthoff, a former All-America forward at Penn State University and three-year pro basketball veteran, recently completed her second season as an assistant coach with the Irish, having arrived at Notre Dame on May 12, 2005.
With the Irish, Potthoff focuses her attention on the post game, while also contributing to Notre Dame's nationally-ranked recruiting efforts and assisting with scouting and practice planning.
"Angie spent her entire playing career at the highest level, both in college and the pros," Irish head coach Muffet McGraw said. "Having a former post player with that kind of experience only makes us better. She's a hard-nosed, driven competitor who has a great desire to be successful, and that's what makes a great coach. I'm thrilled to have her on our staff because she can help us across the board in so many ways."
It hasn't taken long for Potthoff to put her stamp on the Notre Dame post game. She has successfully tutored junior center Melissa D'Amico to MVP honors at the 2005 Las Vegas Duel in the Desert, and subsequently, her selection as BIG EAST Player of the Week. During her two seasons under Potthoff's watchful eye, D'Amico has shown tremendous improvement in all categories, raising her scoring output more than 500 percent since 2005 (to 8.0 ppg. in 2006-07) and lifting her rebounding production 400 percent (to 4.6 rpg. in '06-07). What's more, D'Amico has improved her field goal percentage from .438 as a freshmen to .528 in 2006-07 (sixth in the BIG EAST) and tuned up her free throw percentage by almost 25 percent in just one year, going from .541 in '05-06 to .787 in '06-07.
In addition, Potthoff made big strides in the development of freshman center Erica Williamson. An unheralded rookie out of Charlotte, N.C., Williamson was a highly-productive reserve in her first season at Notre Dame, averaging 6.1 points and 5.3 rebounds per game on the way to a spot on the BIG EAST All-Freshman Team. Williamson also led the Irish with 39 blocked shots (1.26 per game), which ranked ninth in the BIG EAST and was the third-highest block total by a freshman in school history.
Prior to joining the Irish, Potthoff spent six years in the high school and college coaching ranks (1999-2005). Most recently, she concluded a three-year stint at Beaver (Pa.) Area High School, the first two as an assistant girls' basketball coach before elevating to the head coaching post for the 2004-05 season. In her three years at the school, the Bobcats logged a 38-36 record and twice advanced to the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association (PIAA) Class 3A playoffs, finishing as one of the top 32 teams in the state.
Prior to arriving at BAHS, Potthoff spent two seasons (2000-02) as an assistant coach at Robert Morris University in Moon Township, Pa. While there, she worked primarily with the Colonials' post players, and also helped coordinate the team's recruiting, scouting and game scheduling efforts. Potthoff began her coaching career as a graduate assistant at Indiana (Pa.) University in 1999-2000, aiding the Indians to a 24-5 record (the second-highest win total in school history), a school-record No. 4 national ranking during the season, and a trip to the NCAA Division II playoffs, where only a double-overtime loss kept IUP from advancing to the NCAA Elite Eight. That season, Potthoff worked closely with the Indians' 6-foot-5 center, Melissa McGill, who led the team in scoring (13.6 ppg.), rebounding (8.2 rpg.) and blocked shots (a school-record 69) en route to earning WBCA all-district honors.
Potthoff is perhaps best known as a standout post player at Penn State, where she led the Nittany Lions to three NCAA Tournament appearances, including two Sweet Sixteen trips and a berth in the 1994 regional final. While at PSU, Potthoff was a two-time Kodak/WBCA honorable mention All-American (1996, 1997), while also garnering three All-America nods from the Associated Press (third team in 1996; honorable mention in 1995 & 1997). She was a three-time first-team all-Big Ten Conference selection (1995-97) and was named to the Big Ten All-Tournament Team in 1995 and 1996, picking up Most Valuable Player honors in the latter season after sparking Penn State to its second consecutive Big Ten Tournament title.
In each of her final three seasons at Penn State, Potthoff led the Nittany Lions in scoring, rebounding and field goal percentage, winning a share of the Big Ten scoring title and finishing second in rebounding in 1997. To this day, she still remains among the top six on PSU's career lists for scoring (sixth - 1,725 points/15.5 ppg.), rebounding (fifth - 918/8.3 rpg.), field goal percentage (first - .574/709-1,235) and double-doubles (second - 47). Potthoff graduated from Penn State in 1997 with a bachelor of science degree in Exercise and Sport Science.
Following her stellar college career, Potthoff spent three seasons playing professionally in the United States. In 1997, she was a second-round draft pick (No. 12 overall) by the Columbus Quest of the now-defunct American Basketball League (ABL). There, she averaged 6.9 points and 3.5 rebounds per game as the Quest won their second consecutive ABL championship in 1998 before the league folded midway through the 1998-99 campaign. The following summer, Potthoff was selected in the fourth round (49th overall) of the WNBA Draft by the expansion Minnesota Lynx. She cracked the starting lineup for the first game in franchise history, going on to average 4.0 points and 2.7 rebounds per game that season before electing to retire as an active player and begin her coaching career.
In addition to her college and professional experience, Potthoff also competed on an international level. In 1997, she was named to the U.S. World University Games, where she averaged 6.3 points and 5.3 rebounds per game and helped Team USA win the gold medal with a perfect 6-0 record. Ironically, one of her teammates on the squad was former Notre Dame All-America standout and the school's all-time leading scorer, Beth Morgan (now the head coach at Virginia Commonwealth).
Born June 12, 1974 in Erie, Pa., Potthoff currently makes her home in South Bend. She is engaged to Luke Barber of Center Township, Pa., with a summer 2007 wedding planned.