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In Memoriam

Roy Skinner
Roy Skinner

From the Vanderbilt Commodores online newsletter

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Roy Skinner, who won more basketball games than any other coach in Vanderbilt history, died of respiratory failure at Southern Hills Medical Center Oct. 25. He was 80.

He is survived by his wife of 14 years Nathleene (Tootsie) Skinner, three sons and two daughters: son Kim Skinner (Shirley) and children Gray and David of Nashville,Tenn; daughter Chris Fox and her children Steven, Austin and Kayla of Dothan, Ala; son Joe Skinner of Greenville, S.C.; son Tapp Skinner (Jackie) of Greenville, S.C. and daughter Dea Johnson (Dan) and children Nicole, Sarah and Wendy of Anderson, S.C.

Mr. Skinner is also survived by sisters-in-law Mille Williams of Fort Mill, S.C., Dot Poag of Gallatin, TN, and brothers-in law J.H. (Francis) Catron of Gallatin and Mack (Bonnie) Catron, of Shelbyville along with numerous nieces and nephews.

He is preceded in death by one son, Brad Skinner, two brothers Skip and Kyle and two sisters, Luella and Wanda.

Skinner won 278 games in 16 seasons. He was named the SEC coach of the year four times - 1965, 1967, 1974 and 1976. Coach Skinner is regarded as one of Vanderbilt Athletics finest ambassadors.

Skinner, inducted into the Vanderbilt sports Hall of Fame last year, joined the staff of Commodores coach Bob Polk in 1957. The next season he became acting coach when Polk fell ill, and two years later got the job permanently when Polk retired.

Skinner coached many standout players during his 1961-1973 tenure as head coach, including All-Americans Clyde Lee, Tom Hagan, Jan van Breda Kolff along with Vanderbilt's famous F-Troop and Perry Wallace, the first black scholarship basketball player in the SEC.

Skinner, a native of Paducah, Ky., started his coaching career at Paducah Junior College, where he was also a player. He went on to play and earn a degree from Presbyterian College in South Carolina. At Vanderbilt, he developed a reputation of canny recruitment of players others had overlooked combined with intensive coaching so that each player reached his potential.

A memorial service will be held Saturday at 11:00 a.m. at Benton Chapel on the Vanderbilt University campus. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be directed to the Roy Skinner Scholarship in Men's Basketball, Vanderbilt Gift Processing Office, PMB 407727, 2301 Vanderbilt Place, Nashville, Tenn., 37240-7727. The family will be notified of gifts in memory of coach Skinner.