Wake Forest and Xavier To Start Skip Prosser Classic Basketball Series Next Season
Feb. 2, 2009
CINCINNATI –-- Wake Forest University and Xavier University have agreed on a 10-year basketball series starting next season that will be known as the Skip Prosser Classic.
Prosser was at Xavier University for 15 years from 1985-2001, including as the Xavier head coach from 1994-2001, and at Wake Forest as head coach from 2001 until his death in 2007. His legacy remains strong at each school.
The 10-year series will begin during the 2009-10 season with the first game scheduled to be played at Wake Forest. Over the course of the series, five games will be played at Wake and five at Xavier. The exact dates have yet to be determined and will be announced at a later time.
The series should provide outstanding competition for each club. Xavier (19-2, 6-0 Atlantic 10) is ninth this week in each poll. The Deacons (17-2, 4-2 ACC) are ranked sixth in the nation in the USA Today/ESPN coaches poll and seventh in the Associated Press poll.
“I’m pleased that we will play this series in honor of Skip Prosser, a great gentleman and an outstanding basketball coach,” said Xavier Athletics Director Mike Bobinski. “Skip’s influence at both Xavier and Wake Forest continues to be felt every day and this series is a fitting tribute to the legacy he left in our respective communities.”
“This series is a tribute to a great coach and a very special man, and it is a terrific way to keep Skip in our thoughts and prayers,” said Wake Forest head coach Dino Gaudio. “Both Xavier and Wake Forest are indebted to Skip for the contributions he made to the students, community, basketball program and student-athletes of each school.
“The games will be a difficult challenge, both in preparation and emotion,” said Gaudio. “Our staffs have a close relationship and we pull for Xavier in each and every game. We have tremendous respect for Sean (Miller), Chris (Mack), James (Whitford) and the entire program. This will be a great game for the fans but a difficult one in many ways for the coaches.”
Every member of Wake Forest’s coaching staff has a direct connection to Prosser. Current head coach Dino Gaudio was an assistant to Prosser as far back as 1981 at Central Catholic High School in Wheeling, W. Va. Assistant coach Jeff Battle served on Prosser’s coaching staff at Xavier and at Wake while Pat Kelsey played at Xavier under Pete Gillen and Prosser. Mike Muse was a long-time high school coach in the Winston-Salem area before being hired to the Wake Forest staff by Prosser. Walt Corbean, Wake Forest’s director of basketball operations, played at Xavier under Gillen and Prosser.
Xavier’s staff is headed by Sean Miller. Assistant coach Chris Mack was an assistant at Wake Forest under Prosser from 2001-04 and a two-year captain as a player for the Musketeers under Gillen and Prosser. Xavier’s director of basketball administration, Mario Mercurio, also worked under Prosser at Xavier.
Prosser posted a 148-65 record in seven seasons at Xavier and took the Musketeers to four NCAA Tournaments and two NIT appearances. He was 126-68 in six years with the Deacons, taking Wake Forest to four NCAA Tournaments and one NIT.