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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

“See where he is?” Bobby Proctor said, pointing his finger across the kitchen table at the laptop screen to identify his grandson, Beau Proctor, a senior linebacker for Norman North High School.

“This receiver comes off the line, and I want him to get a good chug on him. Right there! See that?” Bobby said, his voice rising.

“Now he has pushed that guy off his route for the safety to cover. That's something he didn't do early. He just let guys run by him. Like I told him, you are helping the guy behind him, is what you are doing.”

Often after Norman North football games, Bobby will huddle around a dining room table with his grandson to view video of the Timberwolves' most recent game on the computer.

Bobby, who turns 81 next month, now coaches his 17-year-old grandson much like he did dozens of defensive backs for the University of Oklahoma in his 20 years as an assistant coach. Although he is not as hard on Beau as he was on his Sooners.

“If I coached him like I did them, they would come shoot me,” Bobby said. “I holler at him every once in a while. I don't holler lots at him. I holler for him.”

For Bobby, the excitement of an autumn Saturday afternoon roaming the sideline at Owen Field has been replaced by the thrill of sitting in the bleachers and watching his grandson play under the lights on Friday nights for Norman North.

“It's more personal now,” Bobby said.

A tough old coach

Bobby Proctor was the only assistant coach for Barry Switzer who spent all 16 seasons on his staff.

When Switzer was a 17-year-old freshman at the University of Arkansas, Proctor was a graduate assistant on the Razorback staff and Switzer's coach.

“Bobby Proctor was the hardest-nosed, toughest coach on players than any coach I've ever known,” Switzer said. “But he was fair to all. He treated all the same, whether you were a starter or on the third team. He treated everybody the same, and everybody knew it. He showed no favorites.”

Switzer said Proctor had a very “old school” philosophy of coaching.

“It was all about toughness, because that's the only way Bobby ever played,” Switzer said. “You have to understand, Bobby was captain of the Arkansas Razorbacks when they won the Southwest Conference championship.

“He was a 160-pounder, and the only way he could play was that he had to be (tough). He threw his body around.”

As Oklahoma's secondary coach, Proctor probably was the most maligned of Switzer's assistants.

He would get the blame when a Stanford team quarterbacked by John Elway or a West Virginia squad quarterbacked by Jeff Hostetler would come into Norman and beat the Sooners through the air.

“I never listened to a hoot what people said (about Proctor),” Switzer said. “The media or the fans never influenced me into making a decision one way or another about coaches and players. If I had, I wouldn't have played Thomas Lott or J.C. Watts. Bobby is a good one.”

Are you Bobby Proctor's grandson?

Bobby Proctor never intended on being his grandson's personal coach. After being fired by Sooners coach Gary Gibbs, Proctor was content on spending the rest of his life away from football.

Bobby once attempted to coach Beau and the first tackle football team he joined in elementary school.

Trying to teach fourth-graders how to tackle, however, was not the same as teaching the Oklahoma drill to the Sooners.

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by Ed Godfrey
Sports Producer/ Designer/ Reporter
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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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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