BY MICHAEL HELD
PRINCETON— After two years as the athletics director at Princeton High School and more than 24 years at the school in total, Bruce Proctor thought it was the right time to step aside. Proctor’s retirement and football coach Travis Gaster’s appointment as new AD were made public last week.
Proctor was an assistant coach on the Bulldogs’ two championship baseball teams in the 1990s and returned to the school after head coaching stints at Smithfield-Selma and Garner to lead Princeton to the championship series in 2004 and then a state championship in 2007.
His understanding of what is truly important about Princeton High School athletics can be seen with his new appreciation that people matter more than championships as his ring from that state title-winning team, which once never left his finger, now resides in a drawer at home.
“I mean that state cham-pionship ring when we first got it was wonderful,” said Proctor. “I wore it all the time but it’s in my drawer now; it don’t matter.
“I know this sounds corny man but it’s the people, that’s what it’s all about. I’m going to miss the people”
It’s the people of the Princeton community who both Proctor and Gaster point to as making the athletics program so special.
“This community revolves around this school and this school revolves around the community,” Proctor said. “It’s a unique situation. There used to be a lot of (schools) like that…small 1A schools where everybody knew everybody. I think this is a unique place and it’s an advantage no question.”
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