September 22, 2010

Teacher Who Inspired Rocker, Leonard Skinner Dies

This is becoming a trend here on Hi-Fi Bri.  Another notable obit caught my eye yesterday while scanning the interwebs.  Leonard Skinner, 77, a retired teacher from Jacksonville, Florida died.  If the name sorta sounds familiar its because it was used as the inspiration in the naming of the seminal rock group Lynyrd Skynyrd.

The story goes that Mr. Skinner had an unruly student named Ronnie Van Sant who eventually got suspended from the Robert E. Lee High School where Skinner was the gym teacher.  Van Sant had a band that was originally called "One Percent" but they changed it in honor of (but more likely to mock) their former teacher who was, just guessing here, probably not a fan of that blasted rock'n'roll music.

Anyway, on hearing of the passing of their namesake, band member Gary Rossington had this to say:

"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."