|Gamecocks' Odom mourns Wake's Prosser a day after dining together|
|Written by Admin|
|Thursday, 26 July 2007 13:49|
Who followed South Carolina's coach into the lunch room? Odom's successor at Wake Forest, Skip Prosser.
``We talked about family, Wake Forest and basketball,'' Odom recalled.
A day later, Odom learned that Prosser had died. The university confirmed the 56-year-old coach's death Thursday, but did not release details.
The two sharing a meal Wednesday at the AAU National Championships in Orlando, Fla., was ``the most amazing thing,'' Odom said from his Gamecock office.
``I've lost a really good friend,'' Odom said.
The relationship between the coaches grew after Odom left the Demon Deacons for South Carolina and Prosser was hired as replacement.
Odom met Prosser soon after the changes in 2001 and urged him to retain Odom's administrative assistant, Lynne Heflin.
Prosser did and not too long ago, Odom said, the Wake Forest coach told his South Carolina colleague it ``was the best advice you gave me.''
Odom stayed out of things during Prosser's first season at Wake Forest to give the new coach time to adjust.
``I know he appreciated that,'' Odom said.
And Odom appreciated Prosser's class and kind words. Odom remembered how whenever Prosser talked about his early teams he made sure to point out how the previous coach had done a stellar job.
In time, the two would call each other for advice - Odom often briefed Prosser on Demon Deacon alumni or personnel - and comfort.
``If either of us would go through some bad stretches,'' Odom said, ``I'd call him or he'd call me to say, 'Hey, keep your head up. Things will get better.'''
Odom coached at Wake Forest for 12 seasons (1989-2001), reaching the postseason 11 straight years.
Odom's friends in Winston-Salem, N.C., told him Prosser had done a great job. And even though his Demon Deacons went 15-16 this past season, Prosser was excited about the future because he had commitments from two highly regarded recruits, Odom said.
``He was such a nice man,'' Odom said. ``He was one of those Northern guys who had a lot of good quips.''
Odom and Prosser parted with Odom telling his friend he needed to be back in Columbia on Wednesday night so he could wish participants at his basketball camp well as it closed Thursday. Prosser said he was doing the same thing in Winston-Salem because his camp also ended Thursday morning.
Odom knew Prosser, like himself, would then go for a midday run before taking up business later in the day.
When Odom finished his run, someone in his office relayed the news from a Wake Forest administrator that Prosser had died.
``I was so glad I had that chance'' to bond with Prosser, Odom said.