Monday, September 20, 2010

Sept. 20: Leonard Skinner - Lynyrd Skynyrd's namesake - died today.

Leonard Skinner was a Jacksonville, Florida high school gym teacher who, during the late 1960s sent a group of his students to the principal’s audience for for having long hair.  A few years later, those school friends, Ronnie Van Zant, Allen Collins and Gary Rossington, named their newly formed rock band, Lynyrd Skynyrd as an inside joke tribute to their former coach at Robert E. Lee High School.  Skinner later became a local real estate agent.

Even as the band was making it big in the '70s, he admitted he didn't recall their names or faces: He remembered the athletes he coached, not the longhairs. Skinner once said it rankled him  that some say he was too tough on them, or that it was he who kicked Skynyrd out of school. They were breaking the school dress code, after all. And he was just doing his job by sending them to the office - if they were expelled or suspended after they got to the office, it wasn't his doing.

Skinner died in his sleep at the St. Catherine Laboure Manor in Jacksonville, where he had been living for about a year with Alzheimer's disease.

Highly Recommended:
 Collector's Edition Lynyrd Skynyrd

Press links below to view You Tube video performance:

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