2024-07-13 9:21 AM

George Mason Selects Tony Skinn to Lead Men’s Basketball Program

George Mason University President Gregory Washington and Interim Director of Athletics Nena Rogers have named Tony Skinn as the 12th head coach in the men’s basketball program’s history.

A key starter on the 2006 George Mason Final Four team and one of the best all-around guards in program history, Skinn returns to his alma mater after nearly a decade of collegiate coaching.  

During that decorated coaching career, he’s guided three different programs to the NCAA Tournament, been a part of six 20+ win campaigns and established himself as a stout recruiter both within the talent-rich DMV and across the country.

“Tony Skinn is the right man for this moment in Mason’s basketball program,” Washington said. “His coaching style will galvanize our student-athletes and his connection to our finest hour on the court is sure to electrify our alumni and fans. Let the Tony Skinn era begin!”

A two-time All-CAA selection with the Patriots from 2003-06, Skinn scored 1,079 career points while starting 68 games in his George Mason career. During the 2006 NCAA Tournament, he averaged 11.3 points and shot 35 percent from 3pt range while leading the Patriots to the national semifinals.  

“We are thrilled to welcome Tony and his family back to George Mason,” Rogers said. “I had the pleasure of working with Tony during his time as a student-athlete and I’m so proud of his growth personally and professionally. We all look back with reverence at 2006, and I am confident Tony will bring the same competitive drive and fire in leading our program as he did as our starting point guard. An elite recruiter, he is well-connected and well-respected, and he will play an integral role in identifying and securing talented student-athletes to represent our university. I share in the excitement of Mason Nation as we begin a new era of George Mason Basketball.”

Most recently, Skinn served on Kevin Willard’s staff at the University of Maryland, where in 2022-23, he helped lead the Terps to a 22-13 record and an NCAA Tournament victory over West Virginia.  

“It is with great excitement that I return home to George Mason,” Skinn said. “I’d like to thank Dr. Washington and Nena Rogers on this tremendous opportunity and for believing in my vision. I am committed to greatness! We will set our standards high, hustle every step of the way and compete amongst the best. It’s an unbelievable feeling to step back on campus. I’ve had some of my greatest memories here and I’m looking forward to making new ones with our fans and our community. Our best days are ahead! Mason Nation, I missed you and I am honored to represent you.”  

Prior to Maryland, Skinn served with Chris Holtmann at Ohio State in 2021-22. During his time with the Buckeyes, he worked closely with Big Ten Freshman of the Year Malaki Branham. Branham averaged 13.7 points and 3.6 rebounds per game while shooting over 49 percent from the floor. He was one of just five freshmen nationally and one of only two from a Power 5 school to have multiple 30-point games this season, and both of his came on the road. Skinn was also in charge of scouting personnel in Columbus.

Skinn and the Buckeyes won 20 games and advanced to the Second Round of the NCAA Tournament.

In his three seasons at Seton Hall, Skinn coached the guards and helped Quincy McKnight become one of the best point guards in the Big East. He also played an influential role in the development of 2020 BIG EAST Player of the Year Myles Powell. Skinn was part of the Pirates’ program-record fourth-consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance in 2019. The Pirates also won a BIG EAST regular-season title in 2020 and were on track for another NCAA Tournament bid prior to the COVID-19 cancellation.

Prior to joining Seton Hall, Skinn had a successful three-year run as an assistant coach at Louisiana Tech, as the Bulldogs won 63 games during his tenure, including back-to-back 23-win seasons and a pair of top-four finishes in Conference USA. In three seasons with Skinn’s aid, Louisiana Tech student-athletes garnered five All-Conference USA selections and three Conference USA All-Freshmen picks. Skinn was instrumental in the development of point guard DaQuan Bracey, who set a Louisiana Tech and Conference USA record for most assists by a rookie (193) in 2016-17 en route to Conference USA Freshman of the Year honors. Bracey also finished the season with the sixth-best assist/turnover ratio in the country at 3.51.

Skinn worked in the DMV area for four years prior to his collegiate coaching start. He served as the director of athletics at the Paul International High School in Washington, D.C., and was an assistant coach for NIKE Team Takeover, one of the premier AAU programs in the country. While working for NIKE Team Takeover, he helped recruit and develop student-athletes who went on to earn Division I college scholarships.

A native of Takoma Park, Maryland, Skinn stayed close to home to star for the Patriots from 2003-06. He averaged 14.4 points as a junior before putting together an outstanding senior campaign in 2005-06. During that magical season, he ranked fifth in the CAA in steals/game (1.6) while notching 12.6 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists/contest. His nine steals against Northeastern on Jan. 19, 2006, set a George Mason and CAA conference record that still stands today.

During the historic run to the Final Four, Skinn notched 10+ points in three of the four contests he played, including a 14-point, 4-assist performance against Wichita State in the Sweet 16 and a 13-point effort against Florida in the national semifinal. The first modern Cinderella in NCAA Tournament lore, Skinn and his teammates advanced to Indianapolis as a No. 11 seed while generating an estimated $677 million in free advertising for the university during the three-week run.

After making history with the Patriots, Skinn went on to play professionally in Europe for many years, including three in France. In 2012, he was a member of the Nigerian national team that qualified for the Olympics in London by finishing third at the FIBA World Olympic Qualifying Tournament in Caracas, Venezuela. He averaged 10 points a game during the tournament as Nigeria upset Greece in the quarterfinals, lost to Russia in the semifinals but then topped the Dominican Republic to earn the final Olympic qualifying berth. In London, Skinn and Nigeria won their first Olympic preliminary round game, defeating Tunisia, 60-56, before finishing 10th in the tournament.

Tony and his wife, Weyni, have three children, Isaiah, Liam and Noelle.

Details on a press conference will be announced soon.

What They’re Saying About Tony Skinn

“I love Tony Skinn. He was a great college player who led our George Mason team to the Final Four. He then became a terrific assistant coach helping Louisiana Tech, Seton Hall, Ohio State and Maryland recruit some outstanding student-athletes. He is now the perfect choice to become the next head coach at George Mason and lead his alma mater to the top of the Atlantic 10 and beyond. I wish him all the success in the world. Onward and upward for Tony and Mason.” – Jim Larrañaga – Head Coach, University of Miami

“Tony is ready to run and lead Mason’s men’s basketball program.  He has great energy, is a ferocious competitor and will demand excellence from his players. I have enjoyed having Tony on my staff at both Maryland and Seton Hall and I am confident he will work tirelessly to build a great program at George Mason.” – Kevin Willard – Head Coach, University of Maryland

“Tony is a very bright basketball mind who connects well with players. He has tremendous recruiting connections along the East Coast and I believe he is ready for this next step in his coaching career. The George Mason community knows Tony Skinn well as a player and I’m excited that he and his family now get to return in this role. Congratulations on an excellent hire.” – Chris Holtmann – Head Coach, The Ohio State University

“Tony Skinn is one of the most driven and determined people I have ever been around.  His ability to compete, improve, and make others better is at the highest level.  He is passionate about George Mason University and will be relentless in his pursuit of excellence as a recruiter, skill developer, and leader.  His players are going to love playing for him.” – Eric Konkol – Head Coach, University of Tulsa

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