Rich Potwarka really had no intention of becoming a teacher.
After graduating from Wilfrid Laurier University with a degree in philosophy, he might have been scrambling to come up with a practical career goal, but teaching, well that wasn't an option.
Son, Luke Potwarka, said it was a pal of his father's who convinced him, even though the term at the teachers college had started two weeks earlier. “He was coaxed in," said Luke. "He needed a little bit of a nudge.”
That nudge led Rich to a career he loved, one that mirrored his work as a baseball coach, a job where he had the deepest impact on young athletes.
Rich was born in Kitchener an only child and the son of Polish immigrants. He was raised by his mother, in the Cherry Park neighbourhood. That park was where Rich spent many happy hours playing baseball with friends. "That's where he honed his craft," said Luke.
After completing teachers college in Stratford, Rich finished a master's degree in education from the [Ontario Institute for Studies in Education of the] University of Toronto. He met Charlene, a teacher living in Michigan while attending a wedding.