Former Northside coach Mike Proctor’s legacy lives on in the hearts of all he touched

Published 7:11 pm Saturday, August 25, 2018

PINETOWN — As a coach, teacher, mentor and a friend, Mike Proctor touched the lives of countless individuals across Beaufort County. After a long and courageous fight with brain cancer that was diagnosed in December 2016, the longtime Northside basketball coach passed away this morning. Proctor is no longer with us, but his memory will live on in the hearts and minds of all those lucky enough to have known the man who was so selfless and giving to his community.

Northside principal Charles Clark, who first met Proctor in 2000 when Clark was teaching at the Pinetown-based school, said he couldn’t think of someone who had done more for his community and the students of Northside over the last 29 years.

“He was a staple of the community and a great human being,” Clark said. “Kids that couldn’t afford shoes, he would buy their shoes right out of his own pocket. When they went to away ball games and kids didn’t have any money for supper, he would buy their supper.”

Two players Proctor formed a bond with at Northside were Jabari Ashe and Bam Adebayo, who went on to play basketball at the University of Kentucky and now plays in the NBA for the Miami Heat. Ashe and Adebayo both credit Proctor for preaching about mental strength to them, which is something Proctor displayed during his fight with cancer, always smiling and staying positive.

Both Ashe and Adebayo, along with many others the coach encountered in life, referred to Proctor as family. Adebayo said the man originally from Bryson City in the mountains of western North Carolina did a lot for the future NBA player and his family.

“My mom didn’t drive, so if I needed to go on certain visits (to colleges), his family and him would personally take me to my visits and took me to doctor checkups,” Adebayo said. “He was one of those guys that cared a lot about people. I felt like he was one of our family members, and I cherish that.”

Jared Adams is someone whose relationship with Proctor changed over the years. The bond between the two began when Adams played basketball at Northside for Proctor during his junior and senior years. While attending East Carolina, Adams coached Proctor’s son in little league baseball. After graduating from ECU, Adams became a teacher at Northside, and also an assistant coach for Proctor. Proctor served as a mentor to Adams, but that bond turned into friendship over the years the two spent together coaching basketball.

Adams remembers Proctor as a selfless man who kept putting others first, even while he was battling cancer.

“He would do anything and everything for Northside, the community that surrounds Northside and the students at Northside,” Adams said. “From outside looking in, you would have never guessed that he was going through all those issues just by how he was carrying himself. He didn’t skip a beat; he was still coaching, still teaching, still very active in the community. He was just unreal, like a superhuman basically.”