Friday night lights: Football passed down from grandfather to grandson

At age 80, former Oklahoma assistant Bobby Proctor has returned to coaching football, but this time around it's more personal. He's tutoring his grandson, Norman North linebacker Beau Proctor.
by Ed Godfrey Modified: October 25, 2012 at 7:15 pm •  Published: October 25, 2012
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“We would go down to the park, had tackling dummies. Nobody would hit them,” Bobby said. “I lasted two days.”

Beau wasn't alive when Bobby was coaching at Oklahoma. Growing up, Beau knew his grandfather had been an assistant coach for the Sooners, but didn't understand the magnitude of it.

As Beau got older and became more serious about football, his parents began suggesting that he get his grandfather to help him become a better player. Beau was reluctant.

Bobby, as Beau calls his grandfather, was his hunting and fishing pal and the guy he hung out and played cards with. He was not someone Beau thought of as his football coach.

Only when Beau started attending football camps as a freshman did he begin to realize what a big deal his grandfather was in the coaching world. It surprised him that every coach at the camps knew of his grandfather.

“I would walk into a room and say my name, and every single coach would turn around and ask, ‘You Bobby Proctor's grandson?'” Beau said.

Coaching Beau

Beau's first impromptu coaching lesson from Bobby came during his freshman season. Beau was openly frustrated about his play and not being able to get off blocks.

“Let me show you something,” Bobby said, grabbing Beau and taking him into the living room.

The living room was turned into a line of scrimmage so Bobby could teach Beau how to use his hands to escape blockers. Bobby's coaching voice emerged, scaring off the dog and two of Beau's friends, who hurried out of sight to Beau's bedroom.

Beau's mother, Karen, asked the boys why they were staying out of sight. They thought Beau was in trouble because Bobby became so loud and animated.

The more coaching Beau received from Bobby, the more Beau realized his grandfather knew what he was talking about.

Last year, they started reviewing video of Beau's games together, and Bobby would offer coaching tips.

Bobby downplays the video sessions and praises the Norman North coaching staff, which has led the sixth-ranked Timberwolves to a 7-1 record this season, 5-0 in District 6A-3.

“These guys are good coaches,” he said. “They all know what they are doing. I don't want him going to the coaches and saying, ‘Bobby Proctor, my granddaddy, said to do this.' I don't want that. All I want to do is just a few things that will help him.”

The video sessions are as much about a grandfather and grandson sharing time together as they are about a coach teaching a player.

Every time Beau tells his mother that he is going for his coaching lesson with Bobby, it warms her heart.

“Beau is beginning to understand what a great coach his grandfather was and cherishes the time they get to watch film,” she said.

Beau gets emotional talking about the time he spends with his grandfather.

“It's just what I love to do,” he said, choking back tears. “Being able to spend time with him, knowing this is what he used to do and still can do.”

More grandfather than coach

Bobby sounds more like a proud grandfather than a football coach when talking about Beau.

“Five or six years ago, Beau was a little ol' scrawny runt that really has become a man,” he said. “He's worked and got in the weight room. He's dedicated himself to want to be a football player.

“He's a great kid, a great person and he's a good football player, and he can get a lot better. I don't try to criticize him. I try to encourage him. I want to help. I don't want to criticize him too much.

“But if I see him not chasing the ball real hard, I'm going to tell him.”

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by Ed Godfrey
Reporter Sr.
Ed Godfrey was born in Muskogee and raised in Stigler. He has worked at The Oklahoman for 25 years. During that time, he has worked a myriad of beats for The Oklahoman including both the federal and county courthouse in Oklahoma City for more...
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MOORE (2-6) AT NORMAN NORTH (7-1)

When: 7 p.m., Friday

Scouting Report: Norman North is ranked No. 6 in Class 6A and is unbeaten in District 6A-3. The Timberwolves will clinch their first district crown since 2007 with a victory over the Lions. Moore, 2-3 in district play, must defeat the Timberwolves to keep alive any hopes of making the playoffs.

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