Although widely known for his work on the baseball diamond, Bruce Proctor has a simple philosophy when it comes to his favorite sport.
“I’m one of those guys who’s of the mindset, that whatever season it is, that’s what I’m a big fan of,” Proctor said. “I just love it all.”
That being the case, he appears to have finally landed his dream job. Proctor was named as the new athletics director at Princeton High and Middle schools on Thursday, filling the void left by Marty Gurganus’ retirement last month. The two schools still share the campus and athletic facilities.
“I’m looking forward to it,” Proctor said of the new role. “It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. The tough part of it is giving up baseball coaching. But I’d started to have thoughts about when would be the right time to get out of coaching and I’d rather go out (of coaching) like this than any other way.”
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Proctor has been around Princeton schools for much of the past 25-plus years of athletic greatness. Originally hired by the man whose name is on the Bulldogs’ athletic complex — former Princeton principal and Johnston County School board chairman Fred Bartholomew, he served as an assistant coach on the Bulldogs’ two state championship baseball squads in the 1990s, left to take baseball head coaching jobs at Smithfield-Selma and then Garner, before returning to take over the baseball program reigns at Princeton. He helped continue the big run of success on the diamond, leading the Bulldogs to the state championship series in 2004 and a state championship in 2007. He has served as an assistant football and boys basketball coach at the school previously.
“Schools like Princeton are really extinct in a lot of places,” Proctor said. “This school is kind of like a dinosaur, but in a good way. Our whole community revolves around our school and our whole school revolves around the community. It’s a special place to be.”
And it will be a complete family place for the Proctor family for the first time this fall. Bruce’s wife, Angie, is a teacher at Princeton High and his two daughters, Maryssa (a rising junior) and Madelyn (a rising freshman), will be students at the school.
“I’m excited to get more involved with every aspect of our athletics program,” Proctor said. “There’s no where else I want to be other than here. And I’m fortunate that I get to work with an outstanding staff of coaches here.”
The first couple of orders of business for Proctor this summer will be filling the coaching voids left by the departure of Gurganus and his own departure from the baseball dugout: hiring a head girls basketball coach and a head baseball coach.