Leonard Skinner, the Florida school teacher who taught students who would go on to name their band Lynyrd Skynyrd, has died at the age of 77.
Skinner was a gym teacher at Robert E. Lee high school in Jacksonville, Florida. His students included Gary Rossington and Bob Burns, Lynyrd Skynrd founding members.
The name was to mock Skinner who was a strict teacher and would send them to the Principals office for having long hair.
At the Lynyrd Skynyrd website, Gary Rossington posted the following message:
"Leonard Skinner, the no-nonsense, flat-topped basketball coach and gym teacher whose name is forever linked with Jacksonville’s legendary Lynyrd Skynyrd, died in his sleep early Monday morning. He was 77".
"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."
Lynyrd Skynyrd started out as One Percent but soon changed their name to name-check Skinner.
In more recent years, Skinner and the band developed a friendly relationship. At one stage, he introduced them on stage at a concert in Jacksonville.
Leonard Skinner had been suffering from Alzheimers disease. He did, however, outlive seven Lynyrd Skynrd members, including Ronnie Van Zant and Steve Gaines who were killed in a plane crash in 1977.