Pittsburgh native, Skip Prosser dies of heart attack at age 56

*Courtesy of The Associated Press*
Wake Forest basketball coach Skip Prosser died Thursday. He was 56.
Prosser, 56, was at the Demon Deacons’ Manchester Athletic Center and had apparently been jogging when he collapsed. Assistant Mike Muse administered CPR until emergency-medical technicians arrived to take Prosser to Baptist Hospital, according to the Winston-Salem Journal. Prosser left Orlando, where the AAU national tournament is being held, this morning at 6 a.m. to return to Wake Forest for a basketball camp. Mark Prosser, Skip Prosser’s son and a Bucknell assistant coach, received a phone call at about 2:40 p.m. ET this afternoon while watching games at the Milkhouse in Orlando. He left the gym immediately. Prosser took over at Wake Forest in 2001 after coaching at Xavier for seven seasons, including five straight NCAA Tournament bids. He coached for one season at Loyola (Md.) in 1993-94. Prosser’s career record was 291-146 (.666). He was the 2003 ACC coach of the year. Prosser was 126-68 in six seasons at Wake Forest. He also led Wake Forest to the program’s first No. 1 national ranking during the 2004-05 season.

“My thoughts and prayers are with Coach Prosser’s family and Wake Forest University,” North Carolina State coach Sidney Lowe said. “I have gained a lot of respect for Coach Prosser both as a person and as a coach. It is a tremendous loss for our conference and for college basketball.” Last season, Wake Forest was 15-16 and lost to Virginia Tech in the second round of the ACC Tournament. In 2006, the Demon Deacons lost in the first round of the NIT. In 2005, Wake Forest was a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament, but lost to West Virginia 111-105 in double overtime. It was Chris Paul’s final game at Wake Forest. The 2004 team reached the East Region semifinals, losing to St. Joseph’s. The year before, Wake lost to Auburn in the second round of the NCAA Tournament after winning the ACC regular-season title. He was the only coach in NCAA Tournament history to lead three different schools to the tournament in his first season at the school.

Prosser was born Nov. 3, 1950, in Pittsburgh. A 1972 graduate of the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, Prosser earned his master’s degree in secondary education from West Virginia in 1980 while he was a high school coach. He joined the Xavier staff as an assistant before the 1985-86 season, spending eight years on the bench there. Prosser is survived by his wife, Nancy, and two sons: Scott and Mark, both in their 20s. Jon Terry, a Bucknell team spokesman, said Mark Prosser had been on the road recruiting but was heading to North Carolina on Thursday afternoon. “Everybody here has gotten to know Skip real well,” Terry said. “Obviously it’s tragic news for all of us up here, as well.”

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William DePaoli

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William DePaoli is the President/Founder of Inside Pittsburgh Sports LLC and can be reached at wdepaoli@insidepittsburghsports.com

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