Like many of you, every day when I come into my office my eyes sweep over the memorabilia and photos that grace my desk and shelves. This is my sanctuary and I alone determine what photos or pieces of memorabilia rest here. Most of the photos are of my family, but not all.
One of the photos is of Skip Prosser and me taken May of 2007 in Kuwait on the tarmac in front of a Blackhawk helicopter. We are messing around and he is taking a picture of me from approximately three feet away. Unbeknownst to either of us the USO photographer that is traveling with us captured this moment. On the back of this framed photo in a slot is a letter sent to me by Skip on 13 June 2007 which accompanied the photo. He quoted Abraham Lincoln in his letter. The quote was:
“Common-looking people are the best in the world. That is the reason the Lord makes so many of them.”
The last line in his letter was, “we are some ‘common-looking’ people. See you soon.”
Unfortunately, I did not have the opportunity to see him again prior to his passing. If you knew Skip, you would know his ability to have an appropriate quote for every occasion. We spent 21-28 May 2007 with a group of coaches in a USO sponsored trip called Operation Hardwood #4 in Kuwait where we had the good fortune to spend that period with our service men and women.
Skip was right at home in this atmosphere and clearly conveyed to all that he got it. This time was not about him, but was to thank the men and women in uniform who were serving their country far from home and their love ones. We all coached teams and competed against one another. During this period I was able to spend a lot of time with Skip and to observe him up close. I was very impressed with his intellect, humor and his caring nature. I have been very fortunate in my coaching career as well as my career after coaching to working with truly outstanding individuals.
In our many conversations I found a man who exemplified the characteristics that every coach, husband, father and man should have. He was very bright, energetic, motivated, and a person of both character and integrity. His leadership qualities shone through in all of his actions both on and off the court. You learn an awful lot about an individual during the ups and downs of athletic endeavors. Adversity or defeat only strengthened his resolve to be better prepared for the next challenge. Victory only validated for him what hard work and preparation will achieve. This is how he lived his life.
Skip Prosser was a friend. Many lives have been enriched because they were touch by him. I know that mine has. Every day when I come into my office, I see our photo together and I nod in its direction. I can’t determine how much Skip contributed to the greatest of our game, but you can rest assure that it is an awful lot better due to him. Thank you, Skip.