GCAA Hall of Fame Coach Whitey Skoog Dies
Longtime Gustavus Adolphus College coach and physical education professor Myer “Whitey” Skoog died this morning at the age of 92. Skoog, who joined the Gustavus athletics staff in 1957 after a back injury cut short his professional basketball career, served as the head coach of the men’s basketball and men’s golf teams in addition to his teaching duties in the health and exercise science department. He retired in 1996 and continued to live in Saint Peter.
Skoog became the Gustavus men’s basketball coach in 1957.
Prior to coming to Gustavus, the Brainerd, Minn., native was a guard for the University of Minnesota basketball team between 1947 and 1951. He earned All-Big Ten and All-America honors during his senior year and was widely known as one of the foremost developers and practitioners of the jump shot, a technique that revolutionized basketball. He took his patented shot to the Minneapolis Lakers of the National Basketball Association in 1951, where he became one of the premier guards in the league and played on teams that won back-to-back-to-back NBA Championships in 1952, 1953, and 1954.
As the Gustavus basketball coach from 1957-1981, Skoog’s teams won two MIAC Championships (1968, 1975) and made seven national tournament appearances. Despite his professional background on the hardwood, it was on the links where his coaching prowess truly shined. With Skoog at the helm of the men’s golf team from 1973-1996, Gustavus teams won 17 MIAC Championships including an unprecedented 13-straight conference titles from 1982-1994. His teams finished in the Top 5 at the NCAA Championships seven times.
On the course, he coached 16 individual conference champions, a national champion and Ben Hogan award winner in Jon Lindquist, 11 PING All-Americans who received All-America honors a total of 21 times, three CoSIDA Academic All-Americans, and 12 Cleveland Golf/Srixon All-American Scholars. A nine-time MIAC Coach of the Year and seven-time District 5 Coach of the Year, Skoog was selected as the national coach of the year following the 1990-91 season, was inducted into the Gustavus Athletics Hall of Fame in 1987, and was inducted into the Golf Coaches Association of America (GCAA) Hall of Fame in 2014.
“Whitey was such a great mentor,” said Gustavus golf coach Scott Moe, who played on Skoog’s team for four years and took over leadership of the program upon his retirement. “He was very knowledgeable about the game of golf but also how you deal with everything else around it.”
When the men’s golf team won the NCAA Championship in 2004, Moe called Skoog from the clubhouse. “I told him none of this would be possible without him,” Moe recalled. “His legacy and impact on the program put us on the map.”
“When I think of Whitey, I think of class and poise,” added Gustavus men’s basketball coach Mark Hanson, who played for Skoog for two years and went on to break his former coach’s all-time program win record at Gustavus. “He never told you that he was going to teach you something, he just led by doing and humbly modeled how to be a gentleman.”
A visitation is planned for Monday, April 8, from 4-8 p.m. at the Saint Peter Funeral Home. The funeral will take place on Tuesday, April 9, at 11 a.m. at Union Presbyterian Church in Saint Peter.
Courtesy Gustavus Adolphus Athletics