John Proctor enters his seventh season as the head diving coach at Florida State having the highest honor any coach could merit on his resume – coaching an athlete in the Olympic Games.
Proctor, arrived in Tallahassee for the 2014-15 season from Midland, Texas inheriting a talented crop of divers that included Katrina Young. He helped Young to an All-American honor on 1-meter on top of an ACC title. Young captured silver on platform before qualifying for the NCAA Championships. Following her collegiate career, Young remained under Proctor’s instruction working strictly on 10-meter events.
At the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials, Young sat in fourth place before jumping to second in the final round in order to qualify for the Olympic Games in Rio, becoming the fourth FSU diver to compete in the games. In the summer of 2019, Young brought home two bronze medals from the FINA World Championships, finishing third in the 10-meter synchro and the mixed team event.
In 2019-20, Proctor’s divers were in the midst of a postseason for the ages, qualifying four divers for NCAAs after winning five medals at ACCS, including three gold. He was voted as the ACC Female Diving Coach of the Year for the second time in his career. He’s the only FSU coach in history to win the honor.
Senior Molly Carlson became the second Seminole in history to win the ACC Diving Meet MVP for the third time after she won gold on both platform (297.25) and 3-meter (340.00) after taking silver on 1-meter (300.85). Carlson also became the first diver in FSU history to podium in all three diving events in a single ACCs.
Carlson and her classmate Ayla Bonniwell (321.05) finished out their careers at ACCs by finishing first and second on 3-meter. The pair were the eighth 1-2 diving finish at ACCs in school history and first since 2004.
Junior Joshua Davidson captured his first ACC title, winning 1-meter with a total of 382.95, becoming the first Nole to win a diving event at ACCs since Terry Horner won 3-meter in 2010. His five career ACC medals are the most since Horner captured seven in his career. Davidson was also selected to the USA Diving High Performance Squad – Tier 3 after he won bronze on 1-meter at the USA Diving Winter National Championships.
Carlson, Bonniwell, Davidson and senior Cam Thatcher ended the season by earning a bid to the NCAA Championships at the Zone B qualifier.
Four of Proctor’s divers advanced to the 2019 NCAA Championships, with Davidson taking 14th on 1-meter, earning All-America honorable mention. Davidson also won silver on 1-meter at ACCs and bronze on 3-meter.
Carlson brought home her second-career ACC Diving Meet MVP after scoring the most individual points at the meet. She won bronze on 3-meter, finished fourth on platform and placed ninth on 1-meter.
In 2018, Proctor’s divers collected five medals at the ACC Championships including one gold from senior Blaire Mulka, who won women’s 1-meter. Carlson advanced to the NCAA Championships where she earned her second career All-America honorable mention, placing 15th on 3-meter after overcoming an injury to win ACC bronze. Davidson won silver on 3-meter and bronze on 1-meter before advancing to his first career NCAA’s on both springboards.
Proctor was selected as the 2017 ACC Female Diving Coach of the Year after coaching Carlson to the 2017 ACC Female Diver of the Year. Carlson capped off her historical rookie season with a 13th place finish on platform at the NCAA Championships after being named the 2017 ACC Diving Meet MVP where she won gold on platform and bronze on 1-meter.
In addition to Carlson, Bonniwell captured the ACC title on 1-meter and moved on to win All-America honorable mention on 1-meter at NCAA’s behind a 16th place finish.
Carlson and Bonniwell led the women’s squad to 193 total points at the ACC Championships, scoring the highest total of any team at the meet.
Senior Dylan Grisell also left his mark in FSU history by becoming the first diver to capture back-to-back All-America honors on platform and just the seventh to accomplish the feat on any board dating back to 1958 when he placed ninth on platform at 389.00.
During 2015-16, Proctor coached Grisell to a seventh place finish on platform at the 2016 NCAA Championships, becoming the first All-American in the event in school history.
He also coached rookie Cassidy Gebhart to an NCAA bid after she placed fifth on platform at the ACC Championships.
In his first season in a different element, Proctor felt right at home as a collegiate coach.
He led three divers to the NCAA Championships, in addition to Young, he also helped freshman Tyler Roberge capture an honorable mention on 1-meter.
At the ACC Championships, Proctor helped the men’s team score 113 points in three events, led by Roberge and Grisell who dove in two championship final heats each.
Young grabbed silver on platform at ACC’s and secured a pair of ACC Diver of the Week accolades during the season.
Proctor joined the Seminole staff after serving as the Program Director and Head Diving Coach of City of Midland (COM) Aquatics in Midland, Texas for 15 years (1999-2014). He built a nationally-known program where he has produced over 50 junior national individual champions including four USA Junior All-Starts and has also coached a finalist in every USA Diving National Meet since 2009.
In 2011, COM Aquatics was named a USA Diving Center of Excellence.
Since 2008, Proctor has occupied the volunteering position of Coaching Representative on the Board of Directors at USA Diving after previously collaborating on the Committee for Competitive Excellence in 2004.
In 2012, he was invited to join the USA Diving staff at the FINA Grand Prix in Rostock, Germany.
While at the helm of COM Aquatics, Proctor oversaw the development of 225 athletes ranging from beginners to elite level divers in addition to heading the growth of five assistant coaches. Proctor has also been the heart of fundraising for the club, generating over three-million dollars in athletic scholarship money since 1999 while directing the Dive Parent Booster Club.
During his 15 years in Midland, Proctor has volunteered for other duties that included both Junior (2000-2005) and Senior (2006-2008) Diving Representative roles for the Northwest Texas Diving Association.
Prior to 1999, Proctor was the head coach of the Tucson Diving Team while serving as the diving team manager for the University of Arizona (1997-1999). He previously was the Head Diving Coach at Ballard High School in Louisville, Ky. (1995-1996) after starting his coaching career as an age group instructor at Auburn Diving Club (1992-1993).