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Skip Prosser : biography

03 November 1950 - 26 July 2007

George Edward "Skip" Prosser (November 3, 1950 – July 26, 2007) was an American college basketball coach who was head men's basketball coach at Wake Forest University at the time of his death. He was the only coach in NCAA history to take three separate schools to the NCAA Tournament in his first year coaching the teams. In 21 years as a collegiate coach, he made 18 postseason appearances.

Previously, he coached Xavier University for seven seasons, where he achieved great success. He spent his first year of coaching at the collegiate level at Loyola College in Maryland, where he took the Greyhounds to the team's first modern-day NCAA Tournament appearance.

Prosser was the Atlantic Coast Conference Coach of the Year in 2003.

Head coaching record

Early life

Prosser was born and raised in the Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania suburb of Carnegie and graduated from Carnegie High School, where he played football and basketball. He played basketball and rugby union at the United States Merchant Marine Academy where he earned a degree in nautical science in 1972.

Prosser coached at Linsly Military Institute in Wheeling, West Virginia, where he achieved a 38–9 record. He then was hired as a history teacher at Wheeling Central Catholic High School, where he coached his teams to a state championship in 1982, five regional championships and three conference titles over a period of six years and a record of 104-48. Prosser would say later in his career that he would be happy if he were still teaching and coaching at Central Catholic High. One of the players on his championship team was Doug Wojcik, now head coach at the University of Tulsa. Prosser earned his master's degree in secondary education from West Virginia University while he taught at Wheeling Central.


On July 26, 2007, Prosser collapsed in his office around noon after jogging at the Kentner Stadium track adjacent to his office in the Manchester Athletic Center on Wake Forest's campus. A staff member found him unresponsive around 12:45 pm; medical personnel performed CPR and used a defibrillator in efforts to revive Prosser. He was rushed to Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead at 1:41 pm from an apparent "sudden massive heart attack". He was 56 years old.

The announcement of Prosser's death was delayed until later in the day because his wife was traveling to Cincinnati and had not yet been reached. Players were gathered and taken to an off-campus location without their cell phones to guard them from reports of Prosser's death.

Prosser ate lunch the previous day with his predecessor as Wake Forest coach, then University of South Carolina coach Dave Odom. Prosser then ate dinner with his son Mark, who was also in Florida recruiting, before flying to North Carolina Thursday morning.

Two funeral masses were held for Prosser. The first was on July 31, 2007 at the Holy Family Catholic Church in Clemmons, North Carolina, near the Wake Forest campus (due to seating limitations, this service was televised by closed circuit television to Wait Chapel on campus). Prosser's Funeral Arrangements Announced., Retrieved on Aug. 4, 2007. The second mass was held on August 4, 2007 at the Cintas Center on the campus of Xavier University in Cincinnati. XU Mourns in House Prosser Built. Cincinnati Enquirer, Retrieved Aug. 4, 2007 Prosser was then buried at the Spring Grove Cemetery in Cincinnati. Xavier community celebrates the life of former men's basketball coach Skip Prosser at Memorial Mass. Xavier University website. Retrieved Aug. 4, 2007


Prosser coached 15 seasons as head coach at the collegiate level. He began his college coaching career when he was hired by Coach Pete Gillen as an assistant coach for eight seasons at Xavier University in Cincinnati, Ohio, starting with the 1985–86 season, and he became Gillen's top assistant.

Prosser began as head coach at Loyola in Baltimore, a team which he coached to a 17–13 record and its first-ever NCAA tournament berth, a feat it would not repeat until 2012. The previous year, the team had finished 2–25. Xavier then hired Prosser to take over for his former boss Gillen as head coach when Gillen left for Providence. Prosser became the second-winningest coach in Xavier history after Gillen.

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