July 10, 2006
Don Skelton, who served as the Head Coach at Northwest Mississippi Community College the past eight years, has been named assistant men's basketball coach at Lamar University, announced Head Coach Steve Roccaforte.
In eight seasons at Northwest Mississippi CC, Skelton posted a sparkling 198-56 (.779) record and guided the Rangers to the NJCAA National Tournament in Hutchinson, Kan., five of the last six seasons, including four consecutive trips. He has also led Northwest to five Region XXIII championships, five District 16 titles, two MACJC state crowns and five MACJC north division championships. His overall head coaching record is 322-161, a winning percentage of .667.
"I met Don when I started at Memphis in 2000, and have had the opportunity over the last six years to observe his practices and games," Roccaforte said. "What has impressed me the most is his ability to get the most out of his players and how his teams always play great defense, whether it is half court or full court, while his offenses have always been explosive and high scoring. He adds another dimension to our coaching staff with his invaluable head coaching experience.
"He fits the mold we already have in place with our staff of Brandon Aldrich and Kermit Holmes, which is loyalty, work ethic, drive and enthusiasm. We are very lucky to have him."
Skelton guided the Rangers to a 29-4 record in 2005-06 and claimed their fourth straight Region XXIII championship. Northwest advanced to the NJCAA National Tournament and was ranked No. 2 in the country in the final NJCAA poll.
For his efforts, Skelton was named District 16 and Region XXIII Coach of the Year for the fifth time in six years. He was also named Coach of the Year by the Mississippi Association of Coaches for the third consecutive year.
Skelton has coached seven NJCAA All-Americans, including Lamar signee Lamar Sanders, who was a first-team selection in 2005. Additionally, he has sent 32 players to four-year schools during his tenure. Among those is Currye Todd, who will be joining Sanders on the Cardinals' roster this fall.
Before going to Northwest Mississippi CC, Skelton coached two years at Southwest Mississippi CC in Summit, Miss. He led the Bears to one of their best records in Region XXIII in 1997-98 at 22-9, including berths in both the state and region tournaments. It was quite a turnaround considering Southwest Mississippi CC was 9-16 the previous year.
"The number one reason I wanted to come to Lamar was the opportunity to work for coach Roccaforte," said Skelton. "I think he's an up-and-coming coach in the NCAA Division I ranks and his background suggests that he will be able to make Lamar a program that can consistently contend for conference championships and make NCAA Tournament appearances.
"I had done about all I could at Northwest Mississippi. The timing was right for me to look for something else and my personal relationship with coach Roccaforte made this a great fit for me."
Prior to his stint at Southwest Mississippi CC, Skelton coached five years at Monroe County High School in Tompkinsville, Ky., and led the team to two district titles. He was named Southern Kentucky Athletic Conference Coach of the Year in 1992-93 and served as president of the Kentucky Basketball Association's 4th Region in 1993-94.
Skelton also served one season as head basketball and baseball coach at Lafayette County High School in Oxford, Miss., in 1990-91. He was as assistant basketball coach at Jones Junior College from 1988-90 and was a graduate assistant basketball coach at Mississippi College in 1987-88. In 16 years as a head coach, Skelton has compiled a 322-161 (.667) overall record.
A native of Leland, Miss., Skelton earned a bachelor's degree from Mississippi College in 1987 and a master's degree in physical education and recreation from Delta State University in 1988. He was a four-year letterman in basketball during his four years at Mississippi College and played in every game. He finished third in the conference in assists as a senior in 1987 and was named Academic All-Gulf South Conference in 1986 and 1987.
Skelton is married to the former Tammy Pryor of Ellisville, Miss., and they have one son, Trey.