Roy Skinner dead at 80

Roy Skinner, who won more basketball games than any other coach in Vanderbilt history, died of respiratory failure at Southern Hills Medical Center Oct. 25. He was 80. Skinner, was a member of both the VandyMania Vanderbilt Fan's Hall of Fame and the Vanderbilt Athletics Hall of Fame.

Official releases contributed to this article

Roy Skinner was just 28 when he first took over as head coach of the Vanderbilt men's basketball team in 1959. He took over permanently from 1962-1976 and brought the program to unparalleled heights. He has the most successful tenure of any Commodore coach to date, and Vanderbilt basketball became immensely popular under his watch, as Memorial Gym expanded from 6,200 to over 15,000 seats in his 16 years. He is also remembered for his progressive ways, recruiting the SEC's first African-American basketball player, Perry Wallace, and agreeing to play Tennessee State during an era when such scheduling was not the norm.

Skinner was voted to the VandyMania VU Sports Fan's Hall of Fame in 2008 and inducted to the Vanderbilt Athletics Hall of Fame in 2009.

Below is a list of Skinner's accomplishments:

•Four-time Southeastern Conference Coach of the Year

•Won Vanderbilt's first SEC Championship with 24-4 record and led team to the Elite Eight of the NCAA tournament in 1965, its only regional final appearance to date

•Won second SEC championship and took team to the NCAA tournament in 1974

•Integrated the SEC when he recruited and coached Perry Wallace, who broke the conference's color barrier as the league's first African-American scholarship basketball player in 1967

•Had Vanderbilt's highest four-year winning percentage (.820) with remarkable run from 1964-1968, going 87-19

•Achieved program's highest national ranking in December 1965 at No. 2

•Had the Commodores ranked in the top 10 in eight different seasons during his tenure

•Winningest men's basketball coach at Vanderbilt, with 278-135 record (.673)

•Nearly unbeatable at Memorial Gym, posting a 181-41 mark (.815)

Skinner was well known for winning with class and ethics.

"Roy Skinner set the bar for all Vanderbilt basketball coaches, not only for success on the court, but especially being a gentleman off of it," said current Vanderbilt head coach Kevin Stallings.

A memorial service was being planned. Skinner is survived by wife Nathleen, known as "Tootsie," and several children.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be directed to the Roy Skinner Scholarship in Men's Basketball, Vanderbilt Gift Processing Office, PMB 407727, 2301 Vanderbilt Place, Nashville, Tenn., 37240-7727. The family will be notified of gifts in memory of coach Skinner.

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