Football and Track, 1938-42; Football Coach, 1961-64
Inducted September 25, 1976
Orville Pottenger was another member of the great SMS grid squads which Coach Howard Blair produced around 1940. Pottenger played for the unbeaten 1940 team and was the Bears’ starting center the two following years as he collected four varsity letters in football. He was an honorable mention choice one year and the all-conference second team selection another year at center for the Bruins. Pottenger was also a track standout, throwing the discus and javelin for SMS and he captured third place in the MIAA in the discus in 1942. The Aurora product missed his senior track campaign after enlisting in the Marine Corps. After his playing days, he entered the coaching ranks and in 1961 took over the fortunes of the SMS grid Bears. After seasons of 4-4-1 in ’61 and 5-3-1 in 1962, Pottenger’s Bears went all the way in 1963 as they rolled to an unbeaten 9-0 season and the school’s first MIAA grid title in a dozen years. The Bears were an awesome ground team with rushing and scoring totals which established or neared new school records. The Bruins recorded five shutouts in their nine outings in ’63, defeated highly-regarded Drake University 13-6, won a monumental 15-6 verdict from Kirksville before an overflow crowd in Briggs Stadium for the MIAA title; and then preserved the unbeaten campaign the following week with a 13-12 squeaker against Akron University. SMS was selected to go on and play in the Mineral Water Bowl where the Bears suffered their only setback of the campaign in a 21-14 loss to Northern Illinois University and the nation’s leading passer, George Bork. SMS was 6-4 under Pottenger in 1964 and he closed out his Bruin coaching days with an overall mark on 24-12-2.