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Leonard Skinner

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How in the hell did you find that out?

Um... the news?


Try it sometime, all kinds of crazy stuff out there in that big ol' world!




Here's a bit from National Public Radio's website...




Leonard Skinner -- The Coach Who's Part Of Rock 'N' Roll History -- Has Died


by Mark Memmott - NPR


Fire up your old copies of Freebird (and play the scratchy LP for gosh sakes, not some MP3):


"Leonard Skinner, the no-nonsense, flattopped 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."

(Florida Times-Union)


This is huge news for those of us who were high schoolers in the '70s.



Even many of us northerners loved the bands from the South — the Allmans, Charlie Daniels, Marshall Tucker — and, of course, Skynyrd. Three guitars. Not always politically correct ("I hope Neil Young will remember, Southern Man don't need him around!"). And tragic, after the 1977 plane crash that killed singer Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines, singer Cassie Gaines and three others.


Part of the band's attraction was also the name. If you were a guy with long hair in the '60s and early '70s you very well might have been disciplined at some point by a teacher who thought you were breaking some sort of dress code. Skinner, as the Times-Union recounts, once sent young Gary Rossington and some other boys to the principal's office at Robert E. Lee High School, in Jacksonville because their hair was too long.


Rossington turned out to be a great guitarist — and one of the founders of a band that decided to take the old gym coach's name in a bit of vain. That was just awesome to every guy who'd had an experience like Rossington's.


It seems that Skinner didn't really remember the guys in the band from their school days and that he probably wasn't all that mean to them either. He was just enforcing the rules. Still, his name — in that wonderfully wacky way it was respelled — became part of rock 'n' roll legend.


So, again, play some Freebird. Or Sweet Home Alabama. Maybe Gimme Three Steps.


For Leonard.

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I wonder if the band ever did anything for him.

Looks like it...




Leonard Skinner, coach who inspired rock band's name




Mr. Skinner, holding a Lynyrd Skynyrd album, was the basketball coach at a school the band members attended.

(Lou Egner/The Florida Times-Union)

Associated Press / September 21, 2010


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. Leonard Skinner, the basketball coach and physical education teacher who inspired

the name of the Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, has died in Florida. He was 77.


Mr. Skinners daughter, Susie Moore, said her father died in his sleep early yesterday at St. Catherine

Laboure Manor in Jacksonville. He had Alzheimers disease.


Mr. Skinner was working at Robert E. Lee High School in Jacksonville in the late 1960s when he sent a group of

students to the principals office because their hair was too long. Those students later formed a band, using a

variation of Mr. Skinners name for their own.


During an interview in January 2009, Mr. Skinner said he was always bothered by the way the legend grew to say he

was particularly tough on the band members or that he had kicked them out of school, according to The Florida Times-Union.


It was against the school rules, Mr. Skinner said then.

I dont particularly like long hair on men, but again, it wasnt my rule.


The band became popular in the mid-1970s, with hits such as Sweet Home Alabama and Free Bird.


Years after sending the young students to the office, Mr. Skinner found his son listening to an album called

Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd. The son, also named Leonard, said his father wasnt particularly impressed.


After discovering the connection, Mr. Skinner eventually made friends with some of the band members, according to the paper.

They even performed at a Jacksonville bar the former coach owned. Mr. Skinner later allowed the band to use a photo

of his Leonard Skinner Realty sign for the inside of their third album, and he once introduced them at a Jacksonville concert.


Mr. Skinners children said their father was never completely comfortable with being linked to the band but did grow to embrace it.


He made a lot of new friends, Moore said. That in itself really brought a lot of wonderful people in our familys lives,

simply because they were Lynyrd Skynyrd fans, and they wanted to meet Dad. They loved him. Theyre part of our extended family now.


© Copyright 2010 Globe Newspaper Company.

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