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Skip Prosser, 1950-2007

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Nothing official from Wake Forest just yet, but there are multiple reports indicating that Skip Prosser died today.

My thoughts are with the Prosser family and everyone associated with Wake Forest University. I'm so, so sorry, Deacs.

[Update 7-26-07 10:47PM] Thoughts and tributes are rolling in. Mike DeCourcy (who also stopped by the Wake board to offer condolences), Andy Katz, Seth Davis ... all worthwhile reads.

The Boston Herald's Jeff Horrigan:

During the midst of my years covering the Cincinnati Reds for the Cincinnati Post, Prosser was coaching Xavier University in Cincy and word was passed along to me through colleague Todd Archer that Prosser and I shared something in common. Both of us had the same unique historic hero, Irish patriot Michael Collins, which probably made us the only two people in Cincinnati who knew who the Big Fella was. Between us, Prosser and I must have owned every book ever written about Collins and, although we never met, we exchanged the ones we hadn’t read from the other’s collection through Archer. What’s odd is that just a couple of weeks ago, while looking for another book in my bookcase, one of my Collins books fell over and one of Prosser’s airline boarding passes dropped out. He’d obviously been reading it on a recruiting trip. It made me ponder for a minute taking the time to find Prosser’s email address to see what he thought of Peter Hart’s new book, "Mick: The Real Michael Collins." I never got around to it.

The Dallas Morning News's Todd Archer:

You're not supposed to become friends with the people you cover, but Skip was a friend. We'd swap Irish history books and have a few Harps (if we were drinking light) or some Guinness (if we weren't) at our favorite Irish bar, Haps. We talked history. We talked football. We talked baseball. We talked politics. We hardly ever talked basketball. He was a teacher more than a coach.

I missed one practice during the 1996-97 season and I can't remember why. I really didn't need to be there every day, but listening to Skip talk to his players was motivating, educational and entertaining. He would quote anybody from Yoda to Billy Shakespeare (as he called the great). My favorite was Thomas Paine's Summer Soldier's and Sunshine Patriots, when his team hit a rough stretch.

In 1999 he came to my wedding, probably because my wife, Courtney, worked in the Xavier athletic department. We were supposed to have a keg of Guinness until the hotel wanted to over-charge us, so we went with some cases of Harp instead. Knowing my fondness for the dark beer, Skip went downstairs to the sports bar and had them pour a Guinness.

When he returned, he pulled the Harp out of my hand and handed me a Guinness.

"Here," he said. "Drink a man's beer."

See also:

Barry Jacobs
Tom Suiter
Mark Curnutte
Remembering Skip Prosser (Cincinnati Enquirer)
Army women's coach loses close friend (AP)