Dr. Ennis Proctor will carry another distinction when he attends a high school football game this fall.
Dr. Proctor officially became Mississippi’s eighth inductee for the National High School Hall of Fame when he was honored this summer at Reno, Nevada.
For the retired Executive Director of the MHSAA, the prestigious honor represented a high mark in his life-long involvement with high school athletics and activities.
A successful football coach at Raymond and Wingfield high schools, Dr. Proctor, 74, served as principal of Forest Hill High School before his appointment to lead the MHSAA in 1991. He retired in 2011, one year after serving as President of the National Federation of State High School Associations. All told, Dr. Proctor worked in education for 47 years after graduating from Mississippi College.
“I’ve been very fortunate to receive some honors, but the National High School Hall of Fame would be up there because of how far we progressed as an association,” said Dr. Proctor, who was inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 2012. “When I first came in, the MHSAA was really behind the rest of the nation with both athletics and activities. But I was surrounded by good staff and had good executive committees and legislative councils who were supportive. We were able to get a lot of things accomplished. Don Hinton has continued to improve things, and I feel like we’ve become one of the top associations in the country.
“The 20 years at the association was a great time in my life. I really think athletics and activities have in some way become one of the last bastions of hope we have for young people. They still can teach the values we need to make this country great. I enjoyed the experiences as a player, a coach and an administrator, but I think those last 20 years were the pinnacle for me.”
After retiring from the MHSAA, Dr. Proctor served as a consultant for the Mississippi Department of Education for two years. He traveled the state, providing his insight and experience for local administrators.
“I think we did some good at the schools. But I have to admit, when I was doing consulting and there would be a good high school football game on the schedule, well I sure didn’t want to miss it,” he said with a laugh. “So after a couple years of that, I said I really needed to retire for good. And so I have.”
These days, Dr. Proctor and his wife of nearly 53 years, Judy, spend a good bit of their time keeping up with their family, which includes two children and five grandchildren.
“Now when Judy and I get ready to go somewhere, we just go,” he said. “We couldn’t do that before. You want to spend time with your family at this stage of your life. So now we are getting to enjoy our time with our children and grandchildren.
“Really, when you think about it, relationships are the most important things you have in life — and I think that’s what athletics and activities are all about. We still have reunions in Florida for our Class of 1959 at Miami High. Those are great relationships to this day. Then when you move into coaching, there is nothing better than being able to work with your players and fellow coaches. I see former coaches and players nowadays and it can get very emotional for both of us. It means so much.”
Dr. Proctor joins a distinguished group of NFHS Hall of Famers with Mississippi ties:
• Marvin Fay Reid, contest official (1987)
• Lindy Callahan, athletic administrator (1995)
• Willie Richardson, athlete (2002)
• Elbert “Lum” Wright, football coach (2004)
• Betty Whitlock, fine arts (2005)
• Jim Drewry, football coach (2008)
• Harry Breland, baseball coach (2009)