Leonard Skinner Passes Away

Leonard Skinner, the no-nonsense, flat-topped basketball coach and gym teacher whose name is forever linked with Jacksonville’s legendary Lynyrd Skynyrd, died in his sleep early Monday morning. He was 77.

"Coach Skinner had such a profound impact on our youth that ultimately led us to naming the band, which you know as Lynyrd Skynyrd, after him. Looking back, I cannot imagine it any other way. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time."

~ Gary Rossington

Posted by Lynyrd Skynyrd in Site News September 21, 2010 1:07:00 AM UTC |

Leave a comment (20 Responses)


Ullarsskald // September 22, 2010 12:37:44 AM UTC

I knew Mr Skinner only through the Lynyrd Skynyrd connection, but he seems very much like the coaches who were my mentors as a boy and youth.

Gods' Speed Mr Skinner, rest well.

 Stat_album cover

Denbigh Patriot // September 21, 2010 10:17:57 PM UTC

Coach Skinner was a kind and humble man. I met him only briefly in a bar in Virginia Beach Virginia and was lucky enough to get to speak with him for a few moments - he was there with Gene Odom and we had a smart, friendly conversation.
I'm sure a lot of fans have an autographed MLS realty sign - he carried them and sold them and signed probably a large number of them - but I really cherish the one he signed for me. I proudly display it on the wall in my insurance agency and enjoy telling people about the origin of the band's name and of course about Coach Skinner.
Sir, may you be at peace now and know that you meant a lot to people I'm sure you would not remember... I remember you. You were a fine man, a gentleman, thanks you for your kindness.

“We are all visitors to this time, this place. We are just passing through. Our purpose here is to observe, to learn, to grow, to love... and then we return home.”

Darcy Terry, a fan and admirer of kind hearts


Lynyrd_Skynyrd_Fan // September 21, 2010 10:16:42 PM UTC

Sorry to hear about your loss, y'all..
Gary, take care of yourself. Take those meds, keeping eating right man and try to get that exercise we all never get enough of.
Keep it going man....
Bless you all.

David Santuro
Mishawaka, Indiana


src99 // September 21, 2010 8:51:54 PM UTC

Coach was a good man. Greatly missed. We had just watched the video on the dixe web page with Leo and Gene like last Saturday. God Bless his family and his legacy's... SrChancey


hillbilllichic // September 21, 2010 2:57:52 PM UTC

My name is Beth. I got the chance to meet Coach Skinner at the Oglethorpe Speedway in Savannah. I, too, knew the story of "naming the band". He seemed very proud of ya'll. Peace be in your hearts. There is a better place that we shall all see those we love.


Vballref // September 21, 2010 10:12:42 AM UTC

I had the pleasure of meeting Leonard when he wanted to become a high school volleyball referee. He worked with our association for a few years. When he first started I trained him. He told a lot of stories for which kept us laughing. I was the assignor and he would call me to make sure I would give him matches, as he had a Jaguar that needed repairs. He was well liked by so many and will be missed. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family.

Tina Spann


mist_harper // September 21, 2010 3:16:47 AM UTC

my name is harry... have heard the sounds of lynyrd skynyrd... always enjoyed the sounds... will always enjoy the sounds... i will pass on the sounds of LS... to be enjoyed in the future


debt // September 21, 2010 1:37:41 AM UTC

Some of us that knew nothing of the man will still mourn his passing simply because of the impact he made on a few we love that named their band after him

 Stat_pix of me (6)

SunyRayne // September 21, 2010 1:26:53 AM UTC

Sorry for your loss...each and every one of you...including you Tommy. My heart goes out to you !!! Thanx to you for all the special music over all of the years and now. I did know the story of how your band was named and am so sad for you all that the name sake of such a legacy has passed. God Bless you all.

Melissa Sadler


tomzilla // September 21, 2010 1:17:04 AM UTC

My name is Tommy Hart. I played baseball for Leonard at Lee HS in 1967. I also playe fast pitch softball a little later. He was very good to me. I haven't talked to him in several years - maybe 10 years. My brother Mike and Ronnie were good buddies in elementary and Jr. high. I remember being in the Navy in SF, CA when I first heard Free Bird by Leonard Skinnerd - That is what I thought the spelling was. I talked to my brother Mike on the phone afterwards and asked - "Have you heard Ronnie and the boys on the radio?" What a shock. Great job guys. I have loved the music. Have never been in the right place to see you live.. If you have any info on the funeral arrangements, please let me know. I will try to make back to Jax for the services.

Thank you, Tommy Hart

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