A great man once said, “Legends never die.” In many cases, the legacy that someone carries follows them long after they retire and leave this world. Maxie Skinner’s legacy at Piedmont College is still very much so alive. However, Livia Skinner plans to not only keep the Skinner name alive, but continue the Skinner legacy on and off the court.
“My grandfather is the reason why I came here,” said junior Piedmont guard Livia Skinner. “If it wasn’t for him, I would not even know about Piedmont.”
Piedmont found Livia Skinner. After playing basketball for two years at the University of North Georgia, it was time for her to come back to her roots. She was recruited out of high school by Piedmont College, but made the decision to attend UNG. After transferring to Piedmont, Skinner thinks her time at UNG will benefit the Lady Lions.
“I have brought over a lot of experience. It is two different competition levels,” said Livia Skinner. “Regardless, I think I can just help carry the team and carry over what I learned from North Georgia.”
Between playing at a Division II school for the past two seasons and the greatness of her grandfather at Piedmont College, there would be a preconceived notion that Livia Skinner has a lot of pressure to perform this season. However, she doesn’t feel the pressure.
“I do not feel too much pressure,” said Skinner. “Not a lot of my teammates know about him. Personally, it is a good bit of pressure with my family and I just want to live up to his expectations.”
Following in the footsteps of her grandfather, Maxie Skinner, Livia has big expectations to live up to. Maxie Skinner left a legacy at Piedmont College and in Habersham County, Georgia that people remember. Maxie Skinner played basketball and baseball at Piedmont College. He became the college’s first ever NAIA All-American when he averaged 32.8 points per game in his senior season of 1956. Over his career, he scored more than 2,000 points on the hardwood for the Lions. This was well before the 3-point line was implemented into the game of basketball. Skinner was also a standout baseball player, and he was inducted into the Piedmont College Athletics Hall of Fame in 1981. He was also inducted into the Northeast Georgia Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.
“Maxie’s legacy is unbelievable. He is one of the forefathers of Piedmont Athletics,” said Piedmont College Athletic Director Jim Peeples. “Maxie should be in the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame, as he was a legendary high school and college basketball player.”
Maxie Skinner was also known and loved as Coach Skinner at Piedmont College. After coaching at Toccoa High School and serving a two-year stint in the U.S. Army, Skinner returned to Banks County High School where he coached for 19 years. He then returned to Habersham to serve as the Director of the Habersham County Parks and Recreation Center from 1978-1984. Finally, Coach Skinner made his way back home. He served as the Athletic Director and men’s basketball coach at Piedmont for nine years. During his tenure, he also coached women’s basketball, softball and golf.
“There was such a strong tie between Maxie and the basketball team, which was primarily his main focus,” said Jim Peeples. “I was really proud we could honor Maxie and retire his legacy a few years ago. When we had our Maxie Skinner day, there were well over 100 of his former players and people here that day. The lives that he impacted were crystal clear that day when you saw the love for that guy.”
Livia Skinner knows the legacy and the meaning that the last name “Skinner” means at Piedmont College. Every time anyone walks into the Mize Athletic Center, Maxie Skinner’s jersey can be seen hung up. His name is still mentioned around. His name is still very well visible in the Piedmont record books. His name is still recognized as one of the greatest coaches, players and people in the history of the school. However, Livia Skinner just wants people to see her grandfather through her and her on-court play.
“I just want people who knew my grandfather or know of my grandfather to see me and be reminded of how good of a basketball player he was,” said Livia Skinner. “Even if they didn’t know who he was, I just want to make another statement for the Skinner family name at Piedmont and keep the family name going.”