NCHSAA Hall of Famer, William Bruce Peterson, Passes Away

William Bruce Peterson passed away peacefully at his home with family by his side on Sunday, March 3, 2024, at the age of 85. He was inducted into the NCHSAA Hall of Fame in 1994.

Bruce was born on May 2, 1938, in Yancey County. His family moved to Buncombe County, and he attended elementary school at Claxton and William Randolph, David Millard Junior High, and Lee H. Edwards High (later merging with Stephens-Lee to form Asheville High). A lifelong athlete, while at Lee Edwards he played football, basketball, baseball, track and tennis. Bruce was proud to serve his country as a member of the United States Army, stationed in Germany. Bruce then went to Western Carolina University where he earned a scholarship and 11 varsity letters in football, basketball and tennis. His 1963 Catamount basketball team played in the NAIA National Championship game; and he was the number one singles player on the 1963 tennis team. During his Senior year, 1963, he began his coaching career by coaching the WCU tennis team as a player-coach.

After graduating from WCU he started coaching and teaching at Cane River High School in Burnsville where he coached the football and basketball teams. Bruce then returned to his alma mater, Lee H. Edwards High where he was an assistant football and junior varsity basketball coach and teacher. After a brief period out of the educational and coaching arena, Bruce returned to Asheville High where he spent 11 years as the football coach. During this 11-year period his teams made the NC State playoffs seven times. He was honored to be selected as the East-West All-Star and Shrine Bowl Games coach as well as the North Carolina High School Coach of the Year twice. He has been elected to the North Carolina High School Athletics Association Hall of Fame. Bruce accepted the role of Principal at Enka High School and remained in that position for 11 years. He was recognized as the Buncombe County Principal of the Year and received the award from the North Carolina High School Athletic Association recognizing the principal who contributed the most to high school athletics.

Bruce married Carol Weir on March 24, 1990, and together they worked to benefit Buncombe County and North Carolina through community, political and family involvement. Bruce was the Former Chair of the Buncombe County Beef Cattle Association, and a member of the Board of Directors of WNC Communities Association. Bruce was a proud recipient of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine from Governor Roy Cooper. Bruce and Carol were active, engaged members of Central United Methodist Church. He was the Chairman of the Buncombe Democratic Party, the Director of the 11th Congressional District Office for Congressman Heath Shuler, was a founding member of the Asheville Buncombe Sports Commission, served on the UNC-A Board of Trustees, and worked diligently with dedication and pleasure with the Folk Heritage Committee. Bruce and Carol continued Carol’s family’s square-dancing tradition and have helped preserve this mountain tradition for generations to come. They have also been fixtures at the Mountain Dance and Folk Festival as well as the Shindig On The Green; and, while Bruce will not be seen sitting up front at Shindigs, he will be there with the crowd, enjoying the dancing and music “Along about sundown”.

Bruce is survived by his wife, Carol Weir Peterson; Bruce’s son, Bruce Peterson, Jr. and wife Cindy; their children, Ashley, Amber and husband Sascha, Trey, his wife Deb and son TJ, Seth, Hannah, her husband Anthony and children Holly and Jayce, Hailey, Heather, Hunter, Sydney and Tyler; Bruce’s sister June Peterson Benson and children Angela McFarland and Brian Benson; and his nephew Steven Weir Sizemore and his wife Jill Hoyle Sizemore, their children Marshall, Meredith, Hannah and her husband Henry Marshall and their children Harper Ann and Henry.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be made in Bruce’s memory to the Folk Heritage Committee at

Funeral services will be held at Central United Methodist Church on Saturday, March 9, 2024 at 11:00 a.m.

Click here for the link to Groce Funeral Home and Cremation Services webpage.