Leonard Skinner Dies at 77

The namesake of Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd, Leonard Skinner, died on September 20, 2010.

Leonard Skinner was an American high school gym teacher, coach, property realtor, and bar owner from Jacksonville, Florida. Born on January 11, 1933, Skinner attended Robert E. Lee High School before being drafted into the Army. Following his military discharge, he graduated from Florida State University in 1957.

After graduation, Skinner became a gym teacher at his alma mater, Robert E. Lee High School, where he taught band members Ronnie Van Zant, Gary Rossington, and Bob Burns. The boys butted heads with Mr. Skinner over their long hair, which was against school rules. After Skinner sent them to the principal’s office for breaking the rules, the boys resolved to pay tongue-in-cheek homage to Skinner by naming their band after him.

Although not a fan of the band name at first, Leonard Skinner eventually warmed up to the idea, even befriending the musicians during their rise to fame. He looked back on getting to know the band: “They were good, talented, hard-working boys”.
Sources: The New York Times, Wikipedia

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