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Wake Forest basketball coach Skip Prosser dies after heart attack

Posted Thursday, July 26, 2007

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Winston-Salem, NC – Wake Forest University men’s basketball coach Skip Prosser died Thursday afternoon in his office on campus.

Prosser, 56, had been jogging on the Kentner Stadium Track adjacent to his office in the Manchester Athletic Center at about noon. After returning to his office, a member of Prosser’s staff found him unresponsive at about 12:45 p.m. A doctor from Student Health Services was summoned and Emergency Medical Services were also contacted moments later. The physician from the Student Health Service administered an AED (defibrillator).

Prosser was transported to Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center. He was pronounced dead at 1:41 p.m.

“We are profoundly and deeply saddened by the sudden, untimely death of Coach Prosser,” Wake Forest athletics director Ron Wellman said. “Coach Prosser was one of the finest individuals I have known in my life, and he has left a lasting impression on the lives of many throughout the Wake Forest community.

“We extend our deepest sympathies to Nancy (Prosser) and their children and their entire family,” Wellman said. “In the days ahead we will work to give our full support to the Prosser family and to assist them in any way we can.

“In his years at Wake Forest, Skip served as coach, mentor and friend to the young men who have been a part of our basketball program,” Wellman added. “He also has been a great friend to the Winston-Salem community, and the entire University family including students, faculty, staff, alumni and our many supporters.”

“Julie and I, and the whole Wake Forest family, grieve the passing of Coach Skip Prosser,” said President Nathan O. Hatch. “It is hard to imagine this community without him. He was an infectious learner and teacher on and off the court, passionate about life and deeply committed to students and colleagues. We extend our most profound condolence to Nancy and the Prosser family in this time of loss."

“The entire sports world, particularly those associated with Wake Forest University and the Atlantic Coast Conference, are shocked and saddened by this tragic news,” said Atlantic Coast Commissioner John Swofford. “Skip was a great friend and colleague who always had a ready smile. I always thought of him as a renaissance man, he had such varied interests in life. He was truly a teacher, never forgetting the fact that he rose out of the high school ranks to become one of college basketball’s best coaches and leaders. He represented all that is good in college sports and his loss is a very deep one. We will all miss him immensely. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, Nancy, and his sons, Scott and Mark .”

Prosser compiled a 126-68 record in six seasons as the head coach of the Demon Deacons and led the team to five postseason appearances including four trips to the NCAA Tournament. Wake Forest won the ACC regular season championship in 2003.

He compiled a career record of 291-146 in 14 seasons as a head coach. Prosser posted a 14-13 record in one year at Loyola (Md.) and then went 148-65 in seven seasons at Xavier, winning three Atlantic 10 regular season titles.

Prosser was the 2003 ACC Coach of the Year and the NABC and USBWA District Coach of the Year.

Prosser was a 1972 graduate of the United States Merchant Marine Academy with a degree in nautical science. He earned a master’s degree at West Virginia University in 1980.

Prosser is survived by his wife Nancy and sons Scott, 28, and Mark, 27.

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Wake Forest basketball coach Skip Prosser dies after heart attack
WFU's Skip Prosser was the 2003 ACC Coach of the Year.
photo by Gene Galin