Coach Roy Skinner has died at age 80.
Compiled 81.5 percent winning percentage at Memorial Gym
Roy Skinner, who won 278 basketball games, compiled an 81.5 percent winning percentage at Memorial Gym and recruited the first black athlete to the Southeastern Conference, died of respiratory failure at Southern Hills Medical Center. He was 80.
“Roy Skinner set the bar for all Vanderbilt basketball coaches, not only for success on the court, but especially being a gentleman off of it,” said Vanderbilt men’s basketball coach Kevin Stallings.
Skinner, who died Oct. 25, won 278 of the 413 games he coached in Memorial Gym, lending an air of intimidating “Memorial Magic” to Vanderbilt’s home court.
“Somewhere along the late 1960s, early 1970s, newspapers started writing about it and coaches started complaining about us winning our home games,” Skinner said during a 2007 interview with sports historian Bill Traughber. “There were charges of referees with ‘home cooking.’”
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 1961-1976 tenure as head coach, including Clyde Lee, Bob Grace, Jeff Fosnes, Terry Compton,...