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PROSSER'S DEATH IMPACTS CENTRAL'S BOYS COACH

The whole thing seemed surreal to Eric Hayes.

While waiting for his flight in Greensboro, N.C., he picked up a copy of the News and Record.

During a layover in Charlotte, he grabbed a copy of the Observer.

The top stories in both newspapers were the same.

Skip Prosser, head coach of the Wake Forest men's basketball team, had died Thursday of a heart attack.

And Hayes, who was in town working at a Demon Deacons' camp, had talked to him just hours before he passed away.

"I've been thinking about it a lot," the Central boys basketball coach said.

Hayes did not know Prosser extremely well, but his former coach at Tampa Catholic, Don Dziagwa, coached with Prosser at a West Virginia high school and was very close to him.

Prosser recruited Hayes when he starred at Tampa Catholic, and the two faced each other when Hayes played for University of Maryland-Baltimore County.

"I can't say I knew him really, really well, but he knew of me," Hayes said.

On Monday, when Prosser was introducing the counselors to the campers, he remarked he "had the privilege of coaching against" Hayes in college. On Thursday, Prosser sidled up to Hayes at the camp and asked him how the week was going.

"It was just an hour before everything started happening," Hayes said.

Prosser had decided to go for a run during lunch Thursday. A staff member found him unresponsive in his office around 12:45 p.m. He was pronounced dead at 1:41 p.m.

As soon as Hayes found out Prosser had a heart attack, he sent a text message to Dziagwa, who was vacationing with his family at Universal Studios. Hayes did not find out Prosser had died until later that afternoon.

"The news people were all over campus," Hayes said. "They were setting up on the track where coach Prosser ran."

Later, Hayes ran into a couple of Wake Forest players who were on their way to the coaches office.

He was at a loss for words.

"It's hard to figure out what to say to them," Hayes said.

David Murphy can be reached at dmurphy@sptimes.com or (352) 848-1407.

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