Teacher Who Inspired Band Name Lynyrd Skynyrd Dies
Posted by Michael Mueller on September 21, 2010 at 9:02 AM
Leonard Skinner, the gym teacher who inspired the name of southern rock legends Lynyrd Skynyrd, died in his sleep early Monday morning. He was 77.
The band posted the sad news at their web site, along with the following statement from guitarist Gary Rossington:
"Coach Skinner had such a profound impact on our youth that ultimately led us to naming the band, which you know as Lynyrd Skynyrd, after him. Looking back, I cannot imagine it any other way. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family at this time."
The legend goes that Skinner, the no-nonsense, flat-topped basketball coach and gym teacher, was a real stickler for the school's policy against long hair on boys, which of course described to a T some of the young men who would go on to form the band bearing the tongue-in-cheek version of Skinner's name.
Despite their adversarial student-teacher relationship in high school, the band developed a friendship with Mr. Skinner in later years and even invited him to introduce the band at a concert in their hometown of Jacksonville, Florida.