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George Mason taps 2006 Final Four starter Tony Skinn as next head coach

Tony Skinn helped lead 11th-seeded George Mason to the Final Four as a player in 2006. (Mark Humphrey/AP)
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George Mason University on Thursday named former standout point guard Tony Skinn as the next head coach of its men’s basketball program. Skinn, a starter on the 2006 George Mason team that reached the Final Four, replaces Kim English, who left for Providence last week.

“We are thrilled to welcome Tony and his family back to George Mason,” Interim Director of Athletics Nena Rogers said in a statement. “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.”

Skinn, 40, was a two-time all-Colonial Athletic Association selection with the Patriots from 2003 to 2006.

He averaged 11.3 points per game during the 11th-seeded Patriots’ tournament run to the national semifinals in 2006. Jim Larrañaga, the coach of that Patriots team, returns to the Final Four on Saturday when fifth-seeded Miami faces Connecticut.

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Skinn, who was born in Lagos, Nigeria, grew up in Takoma Park, Md. After cementing GMU’s place in college basketball history, he played professionally in Europe and was a member of the Nigerian national team that qualified for the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Skinn later returned to the Washington area, where he became the director of athletics at Paul International High School in Washington, D.C., and was an assistant for NIKE Team Takeover AAU program.

Skinn has since served as an assistant coach at Louisiana Tech, Seton Hall, Ohio State and, most recently, Maryland. At George Mason, he takes over for English, who led the school to a 34-29 record over two seasons.

“It’s an unbelievable feeling to step back on campus,” Skinn said. “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.”