Wake Forest Coach Skip Prosser Dies Unexpectedly at age 56

Wake Forest Coach Skip Prosser Dies Unexpectedly at age 56
Jul 31, 2007, 12:15 am

Wake Forest head basketball coach Skip Prosser died last Thursday afternoon, July 26th, in his office at the age of 56. He had been jogging on campus and was found unconscious in his office shortly afterwards by one of his assistants. Prosser had been at Wake Forest since 2001 and in that time achieved four NCAA Tournament berths (2002, 2003, 2004, 2005), a first place finish in the ACC in 2003, and a Sweet Sixteen appearance in 2004. Wake’s best team under Prosser was probably the 2004-2005 team that went 27-6 on the year and 13-3 in the ACC. However, that team was upset by West Virginia in the second round of the NCAA Tournament in a double overtime thriller that still ranks up there as one of the most exciting college basketball games I’ve ever seen.

Prior to being the head coach at Wake Forest, Skip Prosser spent fifteen seasons at Xavier, eight as an assistant and seven as a head coach. He was still the head coach at Xavier the first three years I was a student there and I actually got to know him a little bit. In the summer of 2000, between my Sophomore and Junior years, I was a student worker in Xavier’s Sports Information Office. I don’t remember what my official job title was, but my responsibilities basically revolved around being everyone’s gopher. I got peoples’ mail for them, I got coffee for people that asked for it, I answered the phones, I sent and collected faxes for people, and basically did any busy work that needed to be done that no one else in the office really wanted to do. In return I was paid minimum wage. Out of all the jobs in the Xavier Athletic Department, the men’s head basketball coach is easily considered to be the most prestigious. The job that was considered the least prestigious probably had to be the one that I had. Nevertheless, he made it a point to introduce himself and was always friendly. That may not sound like a lot, but if you’ve ever worked in an athletic department you know that it’s very easy for people, especially coaches, to get very absorbed in what it is they’re doing and they just aren’t going to take the time to say a few words to the 20 year old kid that brings them their mail and faxes. The one thing I can say about Skip is that he definitely took an interest and expressed an appreciation in everyone that worked there regardless of how high up they were….even me. I wouldn’t be surprised if he knew the first names of the people who worked in the Wake Forest Cafeteria. That’s just the kind of guy he was.

I can’t say I knew him well. I haven’t spoken to him in almost seven years and I never really spoke to him all that much before that. I don’t think he’d know me or remember me if he were to see me now. However, he is someone that I knew when I was a student at Xavier and he is someone I’ll remember. Like a lot of people, I’m sad that he’s gone.

I don’t know what Wake’s plans are in regards to replacing him. At this point I’m not even sure they’ve had any time to really consider their options. My sympathies go out to his family, his players, and all others who care about him.

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