"Coach Skinner embodies every value, characteristic and skill set that we look for when choosing head coaches to lead our student-athletes," Kennesaw State Director of Athletics Vaughn Williams said. "He has distinguished himself at the highest level of college basketball as evident by his nine NCAA Tournament appearances. He also has a stellar history of graduating his players as every men's basketball player who stayed four years at Boston College graduated.”
In his first season at Kennesaw State and 23rd season as a head coach, Skinner had a big impact on the Owls team guiding them to a .500 record in the Atlantic Sun Conference for the first time since the 2006-07 season. The team won four of its final five regular season games, including beating the back-to-back A-Sun Champions, North Florida.
A big part of the success came from the guard play as Kendrick Ray and Yonel Brown both thrived under Coach Skinner as each of them set a new division I single-season Kennesaw State points record with 579 and 578 points respectively. The leading duo in the A-Sun finished as one of three pairs in the country to average over 18 points per game with Ray averaging 18.7 ppg and Brown averaging 18.6 ppg.
Both student-athletes were honored at the end of the season as they were named A-Sun Second Team All Conference, and Ray was unanimously voted as the Newcomer of the Year.
A current member of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Ethics Coalition, Skinner guided his teams to nine NCAA Tournament appearances and four conference titles during tenures at the University of Rhode Island and Boston College. His teams posted ten 20-plus win seasons.
"My lifelong passion has been basketball. I am passionate about coaching young men to be successful team members on winning basketball teams," Skinner said. "With the assistance of the alumni, student body, faculty, President Dan Papp, Director of Athletics Vaughn Williams and Owl fans, we will work tirelessly to build a basketball program Kennesaw State will be proud of. I appreciate the opportunity I have been given to coach the KSU basketball team."
The winningest coach in BC history, Skinner spent 13 seasons at The Heights, compiling a 247-165 (.560) record from 1997-2010. He took Boston College to six NCAA Tournaments in a seven-year stretch, leading his 2005-06 team to the Sweet 16. Four of his teams finished the year ranked in the final Associated Press Top 25 Poll, including the 2001 and 2007 clubs that concluded those seasons at No. 7.
After guiding the Eagles to a 27-5 overall record and the second round of the NCAA Tournament, Skinner was named 2001 National Coach of the Year by Chevrolet/CBS, ESPN,Sports Illustrated, The Sporting News and the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA). He also earned BIG EAST Conference Coach of the Year honors.
Skinner earned BIG EAST Conference Coach of the Year again in 2005 after leading Boston College to a 25-5 mark and the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Eagles accomplished something no Big East team had done before by starting the season 20–0. During the streak, the Eagles beat two ranked opponents and, were one of two teams (Illinois) in the country to begin the year 20-0. Following a win over No. 9 Syracuse in early February, the Eagles vaulted to No. 3 in both the AP and coaches' polls, marking the highest ranking for any Boston College basketball team.
Prior to his time at BC, Skinner spent nine seasons as head coach at Rhode Island, leading the Rams to a 138-126 (.523) mark. Skinner took over as head coach at URI in 1988 after serving as an assistant on the Rams' bench from 1984-88.
During his tenure in Kingston, he led Rhode Island to a pair of NCAA Tournament berths (1993 and 1997) and two more National Invitational Tournament (NIT) appearances (1992 and 1996), as well as three 20+ win seasons. He was named the Atlantic-10 Coach of the Year in 1991-92 and was inducted into the University of Rhode Island Athletics Hall of Fame in 2000.
Skinner came to Kennesaw State after serving two seasons as associate head coach under longtime friend Tim O'Shea at Bryant University where the Bulldogs compiled a 34-29 (.540) overall record, including a 22-12 (.647) mark in the Northeast Conference. The two have a long history of sharing a bench as O'Shea spent 14 years as an assistant under Skinner at Rhode Island and Boston College.
Skinner first broke into coaching as an assistant at Marist College in 1982 following successful stints in the ABA and NBA from 1974-80 (Nets, Pistons, 76ers). Drafted by the ABA's New York Nets in the eighth round of the 1974 draft, Skinner was named to the 1974-75 ABA All-Rookie Team and led the Nets to an ABA Championship a year later.
Prior to his professional playing career, Skinner spent three years on the court at the University of Massachusetts from 1971-74, becoming the only player in Minuteman history to be named a three-time All-Yankee Conference selection.
A team captain and All-America Honorable Mention in 1973-74, Skinner remains one of the most decorated players in UMass basketball history, concluding his career with 1,235 points, 749 rebounds and 320 assists in 79 games. Skinner was inducted into the UMass Athletics Hall of Fame in 1982, and his No. 30 jersey was retired by the Minutemen on Feb. 18, 2004.
Skinner and his wife, Donna, have two grown children, Vaniecia and Andre.