Al Skinner, a former Division I national coach of the year and two-time BIG EAST Conference Coach of the Year, has been named the new head coach of the Kennesaw State men’s basketball program, Director of Athletics Vaughn Williams announced on Sunday (April 26).
Skinner, who becomes the sixth head coach in program history, brings 22 years of Division I head coaching experience to Kennesaw State.
Skinner most recently served as associate head coach at Division I Bryant University in Rhode Island.
Kennesaw State will hold a press conference inside the Hospitality Suite of the KSU Convocation Center on Tuesday (April 28) to introduce Skinner. The press conference will begin at 11 a.m. (ET) and streamed live at www.ksuowls.com.
“I am extremely honored and excited to announce that Al Skinner has accepted our offer to become the next head coach of Kennesaw State men’s basketball,” Williams said. “It is a great compliment to the University and Department of Athletics to attract someone of Al’s stature and record of accomplishments.
“Coach Skinner embodies every value, characteristic and skill set that we look for when choosing head coaches to lead our student-athletes,” Williams added. “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.
“We look forward to Al bringing those attributes to Kennesaw State and building a men’s basketball program that regularly challenges for Atlantic Sun Conference titles and NCAA Tournament appearances, while at the same time instilling into our student-athletes those characteristics and values that are essential to being successful,” Williams said.
A current member of the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Ethics Coalition, Skinner compiled a 385-291 (.570) career record while guiding 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 comes 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.