Prosser memorial mass attended by 900 in Cincinnati

Updated: August 4, 2007, 4:50 PM ET
Associated Press

CINCINNATI -- Skip Prosser will always be "Coach" to Pat Kelsey.

"I believe that one of the greatest honors a player can bestow on a coach is to call him 'Coach' -- forever," Kelsey said Saturday while delivering the eulogy during a memorial Mass for Prosser at Xavier University.

The 56-year-old Prosser, who coached at Xavier before taking the job at Wake Forest in 2001, died of an apparent heart attack in his Wake Forest office on July 26. Former players and other coaches attended his funeral in North Carolina on Tuesday, remembering Prosser as a teacher who molded the lives of those he knew.

Prosser was remembered again Saturday in a banquet room overlooking the basketball arena in the Cintas Center, which his successful Musketeer teams helped get built.

Xavier made the NCAA tournament four times while he was head coach from 1994 to 2001. During that span, the Musketeers moved up from the Midwestern Collegiate Conference to the Atlantic 10, and moved from aging, off-campus Cincinnati Gardens into their new home.

The Rev. John LaRocca celebrated the 1-hour, 25-minute Mass, which was open to the public and drew almost 900 people, including family members, former players, coaches and team managers.

"I was walking across campus [the day after Prosser's death], and a groundskeeper stopped me and told me a Skip Prosser story," LaRocca said during his homily. "We all had Skip Prosser stories. He talked to everybody."

Prosser was fond of his Cincinnati connection. He and his wife, Nancy, maintained a home in Cincinnati even after he moved to Wake Forest. His body was buried in a Cincinnati cemetery after the Mass.

Kelsey played under Prosser at Xavier from 1995 to 1998 and coached under him at Xavier and Wake Forest.

"Everything you've heard and read about this extraordinary man is true -- and then some," Kelsey said during his 12-minute eulogy.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press

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