Coverage from:
UMass Athletics - 12/5/2003
The Daily Hampshire Gazette
UMass Athletics - 2/10/2004
Photo gallery Picture


UMass To Retire Al Skinner's Jersey
Current BC head coach starred at UMass from 1971-1974
From UMass Athletics, 12/5/2003

AMHERST, Mass. - University of Massachusetts interim athletic director Thorr Bjorn has announced that the school will retire the jersey of former men's basketball star Al Skinner. Ceremonies will take place at halftime of the February 18, 2004, game between UMass and Rhode Island, when Skinner's jersey No. 30 will be officially retired.

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"I am very honored and happy to be receiving this recognition, but this is not just an individual award," said Skinner. "I share this with my teammates. I am glad that our accomplishments have been able to withstand the test of time. I realize this is the highest honor that the University of Massachusetts can bestow upon a student-athlete. I again truly appreciate the recognition."

A three-time letterwinner in basketball at UMass, Skinner led the team in rebounding from 1971-1974, totaling 749 rebounds. He set a school record for highest career field goal percentage at UMass (.557), and held the single season record (.620) for nearly 20 years. Skinner was a three-time first-team All-Yankee Conference selection, and helped UMass to two Yankee Conference titles. He also led the league in scoring in 1974, averaging 18.7 points per game, and became only the eighth player in school history to join the 1,000-point club, finishing his career with 1,235 points. Skinner was inducted into the UMass Athletic Hall of Fame in 1982.

Upon completion of his UMass career, Skinner went on to play with the New York Nets in the American Basketball Association, and was a member of their 1976 ABA championship team. When the Nets joined the National Basketball Association the next year, Skinner was named team captain and Players' Association representative. After spending a season with the Detroit Pistons, Skinner returned to the Nets in 1978 and then played for the Philadelphia 76ers. Skinner also played in Barcelona, Spain, and led his team to a European championship.

Following the completion of his professional career, Skinner went into coaching. He served as the head coach at the University of Rhode Island from 1988-1997, posting a record of 138-126 with two NCAA Tournament appearances. Since 1997, Skinner has served as the head coach at Boston College, posting a record of 103-85 with two NCAA Tournament appearances. He was named 1992 Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year, 2001 Big East Coach of the Year, and 2001 National Coach of the Year.

Skinner and his wife Donna reside in Wellesley, Mass., with their two children, Vaniecia (12) and Andre (11).

"Retiring Al Skinner's number is long overdue," said Jack Leaman, who served as UMass' head coach throughout Skinner's collegiate career, and is currently the color commentator on radio broadcasts of UMass basketball games. "Al was the premier front court player of his era. He was and is a great leader both on and off the court."

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The 1973-74 Minutemen, captained by Al Skinner (#30). To the right is Rick Pitino (#22).


UMass to retire Skinner's No. 30
By Matt Vautour, The Daily Hampshire Gazette Staff Writer, 12/6/2003

It's been talked about for some time, but in February it will actually happen: The University of Massachusetts will retire the number of former men's basketball star Al Skinner.

Skinner is currently the coach of Boston College and his Eagles will play UMass at 2 p.m. Saturday in Chestnut Hill. But the ceremony to raise his No. 30 won't take place until Feb. 18 at halftime of the Minutemen's game with Rhode Island.

''Obviously I'm very happy about the honor,'' said Skinner, who still feels close to his alma mater. ''There's no question I follow the program and what's occurring there. UMass was a great experience for me. Not only for my playing career, but the whole environment had a tremendous influence on my life.''

Jack Leaman, Skinner's coach at UMass who is now the color commentator on Minuteman radio broadcasts, lauded the move.

''In my era he was the second best player to ever play,'' Leaman said. ''He was a great player and a great leader.''

Leaman said that Skinner's former teammate Rick Pitino, who is now the coach at Louisville, was a driving force behind the movement to get Skinner's number honored.

No. 30 will join the No. 15 (Lou Roe) and No. 32 (Julius Erving). The No. 32 is also honored for George Burke.

''There are some individuals there that are outstanding individuals as far as UMass' history is concerned,'' Skinner said. ''To have that association is a tremendous honor for me.''

Shannon Crooks was the last UMass player to wear the No. 30.

When Skinner graduated, he was the fifth leading scorer in school history with 1,235 career points. He currently stands at No. 16 on the all-time scoring list. He led the Minutemen in rebounding from 1971 to 1974 with 749 boards (9.5 per game).

He was a three-time Yankee Conference first-team player and led the Redmen to the YC crown in 1973 and 1974 and the National Invitation Tournament in both of those seasons.

Skinner led the Yankee Conference in scoring in 1974 with 18.7 points per game.

He had 14 points and six rebounds to help lead UMass to the school's first ever postseason victory in 1973, a 78-71 win over Missouri in the NIT.

''Our team was the first team to win a game in postseason play,'' Skinner said. ''I was very proud of that accomplishment.''

After leaving UMass, Skinner played with the New York Nets in the ABA and was part of the team when it joined the NBA for the 1976-77 season.

Skinner had two separate tours with the Nets and spent time with the Detroit Pistons and Philadelphia 76ers as well.

After briefly playing in Europe, he was an assistant coach at Marist and Rhode Island, before becoming the head coach of the Rams in 1988. He's in his seventh season at Boston College.

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.com.


A Tribute To Al Skinner
Ceremonies are set to take place on February 18
From UMass Athletics, 2/10/2004

Skinner collage - courtesey of RL Sport Design
Courtesy: RL Sport Design
Click to download a .PDF version of this poster.
AMHERST, Mass. - University of Massachusetts athletic director John McCutcheon has announced that "A Tribute to Al Skinner" will take place next Wednesday, February 18, presented by Coca-Cola, the UMass Alumni Association, Kraft, the UMass Court Club and the Nathan Agencies. The school will retire Skinner's No. 30 jersey at halftime of the game between UMass and Rhode Island. Special guests expected to be in attendance include former UMass coach Jack Leaman and former UMass players Julius Erving and Rick Pitino. In addition, the first 500 fans to arrive at the Mullins Center for the game will receive free commemorative Al Skinner t-shirts.

A three-time letterwinner in basketball at UMass, Skinner led the team in rebounding from 1971-1974, totaling 749 rebounds. He set a school record for highest career field goal percentage at UMass (.557), and held the single season record (.620) for nearly 20 years. Skinner was a three-time first-team All-Yankee Conference selection, and helped UMass to two Yankee Conference titles. He also led the league in scoring in 1974, averaging 18.7 points per game, and became only the eighth player in school history to join the 1,000-point club, finishing his career with 1,235 points. Skinner was inducted into the UMass Athletic Hall of Fame in 1982.

Upon completion of his UMass career, Skinner went on to play with the New York Nets in the American Basketball Association, and was a member of their 1976 ABA championship team. When the Nets joined the National Basketball Association the next year, Skinner was named team captain and Players' Association representative. After spending a season with the Detroit Pistons, Skinner returned to the Nets in 1978 and then played for the Philadelphia 76ers. Skinner also played in Barcelona, Spain, and led his team to a European championship.

Following the completion of his professional career, Skinner went into coaching. He served as the head coach at the University of Rhode Island from 1988-1997, posting a record of 138-126 with two NCAA Tournament appearances. Since 1997, Skinner has served as the head coach at Boston College, posting a record of 103-85 with two NCAA Tournament appearances. He was named 1992 Atlantic 10 Coach of the Year, 2001 Big East Coach of the Year, and 2001 National Coach of the Year.


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