When Pat Skerry was announced as the 13th men’s basketball head coach at Towson University on April 5, 2011, he took over a program that had endured 15-straight losing seasons.
The gritty Medford, Massachusetts native needed only two seasons to make everyone know he was the right man for the job.
After winning just one game during his first season, Skerry led the Tigers to an 18-13 record in 2012-13. Not only was it the first winning season since 1995-96, it was also the largest single-season turnaround in NCAA Division I history.
The achievement did not go unrecognized by his peers as Skerry was selected as the CAA Coach of the Year. He became the first coach to receive that honor since Terry Truax earned back-to-back Big South Conference Coach of the Year honors in 1992-93 and 1993-94.
The success continued during the 2013-14 season as the Tigers won a Division I record 25 games. This includes winning their first two postseason games as a Division I program in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.
The 2013-14 season saw the Tigers end the year ranked 84th in the RPI, marking the first time Towson finished the season in the Top 100. The Tigers also received their first votes in the national polls when they were receiving votes in the Associated Press Top 25 poll.
The successful season was made even more special with the opening of SECU Arena. The Tigers opened the building with a 72-45 victory over Navy on Nov. 8 in front an arena-record crowd of 4,262. Less than one week later, Towson defeated Temple, 75-69, on their new home floor.
The Tigers finished their first season in SECU Arena with a 15-1 record.
The staple of success during the Skerry era has been defense and rebounding. In each of the past three seasons, the Tigers have led the CAA in field goal percentage defense and rebounding. Individually, Towson has also had the conference double-double leader over that span.
Skerry has done an outstanding job of mixing in transfers to his recruiting classes. In his first season, Skerry landed Georgetown transfer Jerrelle Benimon. In his two seasons at Towson, Benimon led the conference in scoring and rebounding. He was twice named the CAA Player of the Year, while also earning All-America honors following his junior season.
Skerry’s first recruiting class at Towson was ranked as the best in the CAA and sixth among all non-BCS schools, according to CBS Sports.
Hardwork is not just limited to the court under Skerry. Since taking over as head coach, the team GPA raised to 2.881. Since the Fall of 1999, five of the top seven semester GPA’s have occurred under Skerry’s watch. During the 2014-15 academic year, the men’s basketball team had five players with at least a 3.0 GPA during the fall semester, and six players with a 3.0 during the spring semester.
A true family man in every sense of the word, Skerry manages his time as head coach with his time at home with his family. This is even more important for Skerry, whose youngest son, Owen, is on the autism spectrum.
Skerry has used his platform as a head coach and teamed up with Georgia Tech assistant coach Tom Herrion to start Autism Awareness in college basketball.
What started as two guys with an idea three years ago, has turned into a national event where hundreds of coaches where the prominent blue puzzle piece pin.
The effort put forth by both Skerry and Herrion were recognized this year as the duo was honored with the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) Guardians of the Game Service Award.
Since taking over as head coach, Skerry has mentored 12 players that were honored as all-conference, all-rookie, all-defense or all-academic by the CAA.
Benimon is the most recognizable name in the group. The two-time CAA Player of the Year was also twice named to the all-defensive team. He also became the third Tiger to earn All-America honors when he was selected honorable mention by the Associated Press.
Junior John Davis joined the list this past season after earning third-team honors, while sophomore Mike Morsell was selected to the freshman team.
Under Skerry, the Tigers have had at least one player on the all-academic team, including having two players following the 2012-13 and 2014-15 seasons. Senior Timajh Parker-Rivera became the second two-time honoree last season.
Skerry took over at Towson after spending one season as an assistant coach at Pittsburgh. In his lone season, he helped the Panthers capture the BIG EAST regular season championship with a 28-6 record.
During his tenure at Pitt, he once again helped refill the talent pool for the Panthers as they added one of the Top 15 recruiting classes in the country according to ESPN.com, including two of the Top 60 incoming players.
Before joining the staff at Pitt, Skerry spent two seasons as an assistant coach at Providence.
In 2008-09, Providence advanced to the NIT with a 19-14 overall record and 10-8 BIG EAST mark. Skerry assisted with the Friars’ 2009 recruiting class, which was ranked No. 35 in the nation by Hoop Scoop.
Prior to his time with the Friars, Skerry spent three years as an assistant coach at the Rhode Island. During his time at URI, Skerry gained national recognition and was named one of the top assistant coaches in the country in 2007 by Hoop Scoop. In 2008, Fox Sports.com went on to name Skerry the top mid-major assistant in the nation.
His recruiting classes at Rhode Island also captured the nation’s attention as his 2006 class was rated No. 24 in the nation by Hoop Scoop along with a No. 61 ranking for the Rams’ 2007 group.
Skerry served as an assistant for two seasons at the College of Charleston under current Georgia Tech assistant Tom Herrion. While at Charleston, the Cougars posted a combined 38-19 record.
In addition, Skerry has a great understanding of the CAA as he spent five years with league teams William & Mary (2000-03) and Northeastern University (1998-2000).
In 1996, Skerry became the second-youngest head coach in the nation at the age of 26 when he was selected to guide the Curry basketball program. During his two-year stop with the Colonels, he led Curry to its first winning season in five years.
He also spent one year as an assistant at Stonehill and three seasons as an assistant at Tufts. In his two seasons, he helped direct the Jumbos to two ECAC Tournaments along with the school's first NCAA Division III Tournament berth in 1995.
Skerry played collegiately at Tufts from 1989-92 where he was a two-time team captain and garnered All-New England honors. As a point guard, he recorded a school-record 650 assists during his career - a mark that still ranks as the 17th best in NCAA Division III history. His 198 assists in 1990-91 is a Tufts single-season record. He also is fifth on the school's career steals list with 95.
Skerry earned both of his collegiate degrees from Tufts, earning his bachelor's degree in psychology in 1992 and his master's degree in education in 1995.
Pat and his wife, Kristen, have two sons, Ryan and Owen.