Veteran Wake Forest Coach Prosser Dies at 56

Wake Forest basketball coach Skip Prosser died Thursday, apparently from a heart attack. He was 56.

Prosser was found slumped on his office couch and unresponsive by director of basketball operations Mike Muse shortly after returning from his noon jog, athletics director Ron Wellman said. Medical personnel performed CPR and used a defibrillator on Prosser, who was taken to Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center and pronounced dead at 1:41 p.m.

Wellman said he was unaware of any previous health issues for Prosser, calling his death "a devastating loss" during a news conference Thursday night.

"Because of his strength, we'll be able to go on and we'll be just fine eventually," Wellman said. "We're not right now. We're all suffering right now."

Prosser had been in Orlando, Fla., earlier this week for an AAU national tournament and had lunch Wednesday with South Carolina coach Dave Odom, his predecessor at Wake Forest.

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.

New Orleans Hornets forward David West, who played at Xavier from 1999-2003, expressed his feelings of loss at the news of Prosser's death.

"Coach Prosser gave me a chance at Xavier when I came out of high school, he saw what other coaches didn't and I will forever owe him," West said in a statement. "He never let me slack and taught me to look at the big picture, but to do the little things to improve every aspect of your life. He was a great coach, leader and friend to me and will be deeply missed."

Prosser's career record was 291-146 (.666). 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. While there, he coached future NBA stars Chris Paul and Josh Howard, and was the ACC coach of the year in 2003.

"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."

North Carolina coach Roy Williams said he was "absolutely shocked and deeply saddened" by Prosser's death.

"Over these last four seasons there have been several occasions on which he was the first coach to call and offer his heartfelt congratulations," Williams said in a statement. "Skip was someone who will be measured in terms of his actions, not just words. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his family. The world has lost a great person and great family man."

Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said in a statement that Prosser was "ultimately respected for his coaching ability, his quick humor and, most importantly, for being a quality person. We lost him far too soon."

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 Paul's final game at Wake Forest.

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