Thursday, March 10, 2016

Rick Cleveland lauds Ennis Proctor

Ennis Proctor this July will become only the eighth Mississippian inducted into the National High School Sports Hall of Fame. Trust me: No administrator, here or anywhere, could be more deserving.

The 2016 High School Hall of Fame induction class will include such sports luminaries as Steve Spurrier and Marlin Briscoe.

Proctor couldn't throw like Spurrier or run like Briscoe, but he did more for Mississippi high school athletes than anyone — ever.

As executive director of the Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA), Proctor brought the Magnolia State's high school sports into the 21st century after inheriting an organization that languished in something very much like the 19th century. This is no exaggeration.

When Proctor took over as the executive director of the Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) in 1991, the state's public schools offered only nine sanctioned sports. Worse, the MHSAA had less than $100,000 in the bank and one telephone line in the office. The MHSAA didn't even have a fax machine. Relations between the governing body of Mississippi high school sports and the media covering it bordered on non-existent.

When Proctor retired in 2011: the MHSAA boasted 24 sanctioned sports (an addition of 15); a bank account of more than $2 million; an office with multiple phone lines, fax machines and computers; televised championships; and the respect of coaches, administrators and media statewide.

Simply put: No single person has done more for high school athletes — boys, girls, black and white — than Ennis Proctor, a soft-spoken former coach, athletic director and principal.

In 1991, at his first national convention of state high school athletic associations, the question was asked: How many of you do not have fax machines? Proctor was the only state director who raised his hand. Truth be known, his face was a little red. Proctor later would become president of that same organization, the National Federation of State High School Associations, years later.

Though Proctor's primary sport as a coach was football, he worked tirelessly as an administrator to ensure the so-called minor sports — girls sports in particular — received full support and governance of the MHSAA. As a coach, he helped usher in integration in Mississippi sports. Among his many former players is Pro Football Hall of Famer Jackie Slater.

Proctor's guiding philosophy was that the MHSAA exists for students and should do anything and everything possible to enhance opportunities to participate. Proctor once told me, “We didn't add all the girls sports because of Title IX. We did it because it was the right thing to do. It's simple when you think about it like this: Your daughters deserve the same opportunities as your sons.”

Proctor grew up in Miami, and was an end on the 1958 Miami Senior High School football team that was declared mythical national champion. He came to Mississippi to attend Mississippi College, where he had to drop out of sports to work his way through school with both day and night jobs.

He was a highly successful coach (87-40 record in football and 103-25 in baseball) before moving into administration, where he used his people skills and organizational acumen to accomplish more than now seems imaginable. Upon his retirement he was voted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame on first ballot. I can assure you this: That rarely happens and in Mississippi is an honor normally reserved for people with names like Manning, Payton, Rice and Favre.

Again, Proctor couldn't throw like Archie Manning and Brett Favre. He couldn't run or catch like Walter Payton or Jerry Rice. He just did all he could to make sure Mississippi's children — all of them, girls and boys, black and white — have the opportunity to participate and compete.

Rick Cleveland is the historian at the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and Museum and a syndicated columnist. His email address is


Sonny Weathersby said...

We knew Ennis from Church and School. One of the greatest influences a child could have. Thanks and a very deserving honor Ennis!!

Anonymous said...

Isn't this the same guy that forced the Catholic schools out of MHSAA? If so, shame on him.

Anonymous said...

Never got to play for him as a Coach but can assure you he swung the meanest paddle in High School and made me a much better person for it. Taught me how to enforce the rules fairly but with enough consequences to make me want to change my behavior. Lessons I use everyday in my life. Congrats Coach!

Anonymous said...

He tried to take soccer out of our schools. Can't thank him enough.

Anonymous said...

He did his best to screw up high school soccer. Thanks Ennis.

Honor Well Deserved said...

Maybe you negative neck-jerkers can blame him for the liberals banishing dodge-ball. We must be hearing from the assholes who rode the bench.

Anonymous said...

I've had that

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

Meet KIM Waaaaaade at the Entergy Tent. For five pesos, Kim will sell you a chance to win a deed to a crack house on Ridgeway Street stuffed in the Howard Industries pinata. Don't worry if the pinata is beaten to shreds, as Mr. Wade has Jose, Emmanuel, and Carlos, all illegal immigrants, available as replacements for the it. Upon leaving the Entergy tent, fig leaves will be available in case Entergy literally takes everything you have as part of its Trollfest ticket price adjustment charge.

Donna Ladd of The Jackson Free Press will give several classes on learning how to write. Smearing, writing without factchecking, and reporting only one side of a story will be covered. A donation to pay their taxes will be accepted and she will be signing copies of their former federal tax liens. Ms. Ladd will give a dramatic reading of her two award-winning essays (They received The Jackson Free Press "Best Of" awards.) "Why everything is always about me" and "Why I cover murders better than anyone else in Jackson".

In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

In order to help clean up the legal profession, Adam Kilgore of the Mississippi Bar will be giving away free, round-trip plane tickets to the North Pole where they keep their bar complaint forms (which are NOT available online). If you don't want to go to the North Pole, you can enjoy Brant Brantley's (of the Mississippi Commission on Judicial Performance) free guided tours of the quicksand field over by High Street where all complaints against judges disappear. If for some reason you are unable to control yourself, never fear; Judge Houston Patton will operate his jail where no lawyers are needed or allowed as you just sit there for minutes... hours.... months...years until he decides he is tired of you sitting in his jail. Do not think Judge Patton is a bad judge however as he plans to serve free Mad Dog 20/20 to all inmates.

Trollfest '09 is a pet-friendly event as well. Feel free to bring your dog with you and do not worry if your pet gets hungry, as employees of the Jackson Zoo will be on hand to provide some of their animals as food when it gets to be feeding time for your little loved one.

Relax at the Fox News Tent. Since there are only three blonde reporters in Jackson (being blonde is a requirement for working at Fox News), Megan and Kathryn from WAPT and Wendy from WLBT will be on loan to Fox. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both and a torn-up Obama yard sign will entitle you to free drinks served by Megan, Wendy, and Kathryn. Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required. Just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '09 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS.

Trollfest '07

Jackson Jambalaya is the home of Trollfest '07. Catch this great event which promises to leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Sonjay Poontang and his band headline the night with a special steel cage, no time limit "loser must leave town" bout between Alan Lange and "Big Cat"Donna Ladd following afterwards. Kamikaze will perform his new song F*** Bush, he's still a _____. Did I mention there was no referee? Dr. Heddy Matthias and Lori Gregory will face off in the undercard dueling with dangling participles and other um, devices. Robbie Bell will perform Her two latest songs: My Best Friends are in the Media and Mama's, Don't Let Your Babies Grow up to be George Bell. Sid Salter of The Clarion-Ledger will host "Pin the Tail on the Trial Lawyer", sponsored by State Farm.

There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

Note: Security provided by INS