Skip Prosser, former XU coach, dies at age 56

Current Wake Forest and former Loyola (MD) and Xavier head basketball coach Skip Prosser collapsed in his WFU office and was pronounced dead Thursday afternoon, according to Scout's DeaconSports.com. Prosser, a native of Carnegie, Pa., was a self-described 'Pittsburgh Guy.' This is very sad news.

Assistant coach Mike Muse administered CPR until emergency-medical technicians arrived. Prosser was taken to Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.

George Edward Prosser, whose career mark is 291-146 (.666), took over at Wake Forest in 2001 following seven years at Xavier where he compiled a 165-78 record and took the Musketeers to four NCAA and two NIT tournaments. In 1999, Xavier won third place at the NIT.

Prosser graduated from Carnegie (now Carlynton) High School, secured a nautical science degree from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy and a masters in secondary education from West Virginia.

    "The actual City of Pittsburgh is rather small. Allegheny County encompasses metropolitan Pgh. Carnegie is within 10 miles of the Point, where the Monongahela and Allegheny form the Ohio River. The Steelers' and Pirates' playing fields are literally a stone's throw across the Allegheny. "

Following 12 years coaching at high schools in Wheeling, W.V., Prosser hit the college ranks in 1984 as an assistant coach at XU after 12 years high school coaching experience in Wheeling, W.V. He got his first college heading job at Loyola in Baltimore, Md. in 1984-85, and made the first of many trips to the NCAA tournament. He returned to Cincinnati, Ohio, the following season as Xavier's head coach.

Skip, like many of us who live outside our Pittsburgh home town, maintained his ties to the 'Burgh. In our few meetings, we always talked about what was happening back home.

On January 27, 2001, after his Muskies had slammed the Dukes, 81-48, I asked a 'btw' question at the end of the post-game news conference. "Who are you rooting for in the Super Bowl," said I. "No one," he said. And then after a few seconds, Prosser added, "Wait a minute. Rod Woodson is a Pittsburgh guy (all-star defensive back for 10 seasons with the Steelers). He's with Baltimore. Guess it will be the Ravens." The Ravens beat the New York Giants, 31-4.

He considered returning home by taking the Pitt head coaching job, which successfully for the Panthers went to Jamie Dixon, following Ben Howland's hiring at UCLA. His top recruit, Chris Paul (New Orleans Hornets), said following the Capital Classic in Washington, D.C., "Hey, I understand. It's his home town. But I'm glad he's staying." The Demon Deacons had signed Skip to a 10-year deal six days earlier.

This past May, along with five other head coaches, Prosser went to Kuwait with Operation Hardwood IV. Prosser and his colleagues coached U.S. troops in a friendly but competitive week-long tournament.

Prior to traveling, Skip told Wake's athletic department, "I am thrilled and honored to be a part of it. People I have talked to in the military say that the soldiers really enjoy it."

Our thoughts and prayers go out to Skip's wife, Nancy, and his sons, Scott and Mark. He will be missed.

Honors

2003 ACC Coach of the Year 
2003 NABC District Coach of the Year 
2003 USBWA District Coach of the Year 
1997 Basketball Times Mideast Coach of the Year  
1997 NABC District Coach of the Year 
1995 MCC Coach of the Year 


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