Pat Skerry Named as Tigers' Head Coach
Courtesy: Athletics Media Relations  
Release: 04/10/2011
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TOWSON, Md. – University of Pittsburgh assistant coach Pat Skerry has been named as the head men’s basketball coach at Towson University, Director of Athletics Mike Waddell and President Robert L. Caret announced on Tuesday.

“This is an exciting time for Towson University,” Waddell said. “We welcome Pat, his wife Kristen, and their sons Ryan and Owen to the Tiger Family and the Baltimore community.

“Pat is a coach that brings with him a wealth of experience as a former head coach and assistant coach, having worked with great mentors throughout his career,” Waddell added. “He is recognized nationally as a top recruiter and his contacts will open doors to recruits up and down the talent-rich East Coast. We look forward to seeing his physical and tough brand of basketball at Towson.”

A 19-year coaching veteran, Skerry has spent time building his resume of success at nine different schools: Pittsburgh 2010-11, Providence 2008-10, Rhode Island 2005-08, College of Charleston 2003-05, William & Mary 2000-03, Northeastern 1998-2000, Curry College (Mass.) 1996-98, Stonehill College (Mass.) 1995-96 and his alma mater, Tufts 1992-95.

Last season, Skerry helped Pittsburgh to the BIG EAST Conference regular season championship with an overall mark of 28-6. 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, including two of the Top 60 incoming players.

“I want to thank Mike Waddell, President Caret and the entire search committee for all of the time and effort they put in during this process,” said Skerry. “It is the energy they displayed during the search and the commitment from the University that will show through as we develop our championship mentality. When Tiger Arena opens in just two short years, it will be a night of celebration for everyone in Baltimore.

“Our Tigers will represent Towson with class and dignity and show an unparalleled work ethic both on and off the court,” Skerry added. “Playing in the nation’s top non-BCS conference, we will need to work hard and play with TU toughness, both key characteristics I have learned from all the coaches I worked with during my career.”

Skerry has spent his last three years recruiting and coaching in the BIG EAST, working the two years prior to Pitt at Providence under Keno Davis.

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.

Before his jump to Providence, Skerry spent three years as an assistant coach at the University of Rhode Island working for Jim Baron. 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 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 Marshall Coach Tom Herrion. While at Charleston, the Cougars posted a combined 38-19 record.

In addition, Skerry has a great understanding of the Colonial Athletic Association as he spent five years in the league with 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 where he helped guide the Jumbos to two ECAC Tournaments along with the school’s first NCAA Division III Tournament berth in 1995.

A native of Medford, Mass., 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.

Skerry and his wife, Kristen, have two sons, Ryan and Owen.
The Pat Skerry File

Birthdate: January 21, 1970

Hometown: Medford, Mass.

Education: Bachelor of Science–Psychology, Tufts University, 1992; Master’s degree–Education, Tufts University, 1995

Family: Wife, Kristen; two sons, Ryan and Owen

Coaching Career:

Years Title School
2010-11 Assistant Coach        University of Pittsburgh
2008-10 Assistant Coach Providence College
2005-08 Assistant Coach University of Rhode Island
2003-05 Assistant Coach College of Charleston
2000-03 Assistant Coach College of William & Mary
1998-2000     Assistant Coach Northeastern University
1996-98 Head Coach Curry College (Mass.)
1995-96 Assistant Coach Stonehill College (Mass.)
1992-95 Assistant Coach Tufts University

Playing Career:
Earned All-New England honors and was a two-year team captain at Tufts ... set school record with 650 career assists which still ranks as the 17th best total in NCAA Division III ... his 6.8 career assists per game average still ranks 10th in NCAA Division III Record Book.
What They Are Saying About Pat Skerry

Jamie Dixon, Head Coach, University of Pittsburgh
“I’ve had numerous conversations with Towson Athletic Director Mike Waddell regarding Pat Skerry and the job at Towson. During our conversations over the last few weeks, I’ve expressed how valuable Pat has been for our program and how good of a coach he’s going to be. We have been extremely fortunate to have Pat on our coaching staff for the past year. With his talent, work ethic, experience and background, Pat was a valuable addition to our staff. He is well-rounded as a coach and has assisted us in a variety of ways including recruiting, scouting and player development. In his one short year at Pitt, he made a tremendous impact. We are happy and excited for Pat and his family and we are sure that he will do a great job at Towson.”

Tom Herrion, Head Coach, Marshall University
“I am thrilled for Pat and the wonderful opportunity he has been given at Towson. I commend Mike (Waddell) and the entire Towson community on an excellent hire. There is no doubt he will infuse new life into the basketball program. I am confident he will represent Towson in a first-class manner as its head coach.”

Jim Baron, Head Coach, University of Rhode Island
“Pat is an outstanding individual and one of the hardest workers I have ever coached with. He did an outstanding job for us, both recruiting and developing players. I think he has a bright future ahead of him.”

Jeff Goodman, College Basketball Reporter,
“I have known Pat for a long time and I am not sure you will find a more tireless worker. He has proven himself as an elite recruiter. He is a terrific leader and knows how to deal with today's players. This is a great hire for Towson. Pat is going to raise the level of their talent pool.”

Keno Davis, Former Head Coach, Providence College
Pat Skerry is one of the hardest working coaches in the country and I wish him all the best. I expect to see a great deal of success for Towson."

Coach Skerry's Press Conference Comments

"This turnout just reinforces what I believe that this place is ready to take off. The one thing hopefully you sense from me is that I have energy. I'm jacked up to be here.

I had a chance to meet the guys that are here right now, our team, the guys who are going to help to build the program and I'm excited. I know we've got really good kids that have great character and who have a lot of talent and we're going to build on that talent. We've talked about we're going to change some habits and we're going to build a winning culture and a great program that I hope can be a great, great legacy here at Towson.

I spent the last year working for a future hall of famer, Jamie Dixon. It's basketball 101 everyday. You just absorb it. I worked with a great staff there.

One of the things that has helped me is that I've worked for some very good and some very different head coaches.  And I owe a lot to those guys; to Coach Dixon who was a national coach of the year, to Keno Davis at Providence who was a national coach of the year to Jim Baron at the University of Rhode Island to Tom Herrion at Marshall University to Rick Boyages who is head of the Big Ten Conference in men's basketball and Rudy Keeling who was at Northeastern and is now head of the ECAC. And I've worked for some great administrators.

I was a head coach at the age of 26 at a small Division III school in Boston called Curry College. I loved it. It was the best job I ever had. That gave me the fire to jump into Division I and then try to climb the ranks and get after it from there so I have worked at some difference places but to me everything has been a step up and I've been waiting for an opportunity like this. I've been chomping at the bit.

I look around here at what we're doing, what we're building, what we have and we're ready to go. I really believe that. And we're going to do it with these guys right here in the room and by adding some other people. If I didn't believe that I promise you I wouldn't be here. There is no way this thing isn't going to happen. I want you to be able to look at us and say, hey, I'm proud of what they're putting out there.

During the interview process someone asked, 'How many games do you want to win next year?' I said, 'How many are we playing?' I want to win every game. I am not one of those guys that tell you I want to win 15 or 20 or 25 games. Our guys have scholarships and I'm paid so we want to win every game.  What I want to tell you is that we will work as hard and compete as hard as anybody in the country. We're going to work and we're going to compete and going to do it every day. I firmly believe that when you get guys to play hard and be good teammates, you can accomplish something very, very special. I think everything is going to be in place here to do that at Towson.

We're going to guard but we're going to be physical and we're going to share the basketball. Those are going to be points of emphasis. To have success you've got to have a lot of good players but they've got to guard, they've got to rebound and they have to share the basketball. That's a winning formula we're going to take over here.

We want to change some habits. When your habits change and you improve your habits you build a culture and those are the things that have to be in place to have a great program which is what we're striving for.

I've always felt that a men's basketball program can be a nice front door to the wonderful house that is this university and obviously
we hope to do that.

Q&A With the Media

Ken Murray, Baltimore Sun: What resources do you think you need here and what resources have they told you they're going to give you?
"I think everything is in place right away for us to compete in a great conference like the CAA. Obviously we have a beautiful campus, great academics. We have a great location. We're breaking ground on a big-time facility that's going to have all the bells and whistles that you need. It's going to have the wow factor that kids want when they step on to this campus. For me that's a big thing. I look around and I say what don't we have. I believe we have everything in place."

Mat Schlissel, CAA Zone: Assistant coaches, when does that start and what type of coaches are you looking for?
"That's already started. We've got some great guys here on staff that we're going to talk to. Through 19 years of coaching and building some relationships I have some people that I have great trust and confidence in. You want guys who want to work and know how to recruit and teach and motivate. I believe we're well on our way toward putting a great staff in place here."

Gerry Sandusky, WBAL Channel 11 Sports Director: The success of the CAA, two trips to the Final Four in the last six years, among your coaching peers how much has this conference been elevated in terms of just the wow factor with kids who want to play in it, coaches wanting to coach in it and fans wanting to see it?
"The CAA has always been a great league. I spent some time at William & Mary. Going back obviously the tremendous success at (George) Mason and VCU in the tournaments the last few years no question has elevated the league. It's as good a basketball league as any outside of the few BCS leagues. I think the CAA is like 7-2 against the Big East and the ACC in the NCAA Tournament over the last couple of years. If you're beating those leagues in the tournament, the sky's the limit. I also spent some time in the Atlantic 10. When I went to the University of Rhode Island with coach (Jim) Baron who hired me they were coming off a six-win season. Three years later we spent five weeks in the top 25. I see a lot of similarities here in that we're ripe to take off. There's no question that the CAA is a premiere conference in the country. Kids want to play in it and we've got great location for guys to play in it. That's why I'm here."

Stan Charles, PressBox: When I was reading the bio with all the quotes from the other coaches you've worked for, they all echoed how hard you work. How tirelessly you are as a recruiter. I'm wondering if you could share an antecdote that might illustrate how tireless you are as a recruiter?
"I paid all those guys a lot of money to say that. I've kind of lived by the motto that it's not the size of the dog in the fight but the size of the fight in the dog that counts. That's kind of the mentality I want to bring every day. I was a guy who was cut from my freshman team in high school. I came back and made the varsity the next year and started. I learned hard work from my parents.  Recruiting is something you have to do and also when you're an assistant you have to serve the guys you work for."

Sam Smith, Towerlight: A big problem last year was a lack of depth. They only had seven or eight guys on the court every night. How important is it to you as a coach to have nine, 10 guys out on the floor at least?
"I think it's very important. At Pittsburgh we played a lot of guys and had great success. At Rhode Island we played nine-10 guys. The season is like a war. You have a lot of battles that go on. You've got to have the militia and be ready. We've got 13 guys who can be on scholarship and a couple of walk-ons; everybody's got to be ready to go. Our guys will hear this a lot in our program - we need everybody. Many hands make light work."

Andrew Constant, Towerlight: There's been turnover with the program. Some players have left recently. How do you look to replace them; through recruiting or replacing them with players who didn't necessarily play big roles last year?
"First and foremost I'm really excited about my guys who are here right now, getting to work with them and getting them better. They're our guys and they're going to be the backbone and the base of the success we're going to have right away. Then recruiting is important in every program and in any sport every year so we've got to evaluate where we're at and how we can improve and get better. The one thing I do know about this business, this league and this profession, you better get better every day. I'd better get better and these guys better get better because everyone else is."

Mat Schlissel, CAA Zone: Hear you're going to play a pretty tough schedule next year non-conference wise. Does that help to get you prepared for the CAA?
"No question it does. I know these guys aren't afraid to play anyone. They've played against them in high school and on the AAU circuit and they know they can be good. I think back to when Jerry Wainwright was at UNC Wilmington, that's when they won. He played a great non-conference schedule to get ready for a rigorous CAA season. That's why we're going out and playing some premiere programs like Kansas and Michigan. Oregon State is coming in here. I think Mike (Waddell) has the Lakers and Celtics coming in here too one weekend. We'll play anyone and anywhere.

Ken Murray, Baltimore Sun: Pat, obviously this program needs to do a lot of work to get up to speed. What things are priorities with you and how do you plan to proceed and where do you plan to start?
"Everyone can learn to work at a higher rate than they worked before, starting today. We've talked about changing habits. Our habits have to change in the weight room, how many shots a day we're getting up, how long we're play pick up for, what are we eating that night. We've got to add talent that is going to complement the guys we have in this room.  There are no quick fixes. To build a great program, which is what our plan is here, we have to get better every day. We're going to guard. I'm a big believer that with effort and concentration anybody can defend and certainly that's going to be a focal point for us."

Ken Murray, Baltimore Sun: Also, talk about the recruiting and what you plan to do about the Baltimore aspect. Towson has never really been able to capitalize very well on what's been here in talent.
"No question in the Baltimore, northern Virginia, D.C. area we're in a great area for high school and AAU basketball.  Some of the premiere high school and AAU programs in the entire country are right here, great coaches and just super programs. That's going to be a focal point as is the entire Eastern seaboard and anywhere else we can get players. There are a lot of ways to get good players. Obviously we want the best local players to come here at Towson. We're going to put ourselves in a position to do that. Bottom line is we want good players that will make me look like a much better coach than I actually am."

Stan Charles, PressBox: Dr. Caret had mentioned that you understand the marketing aspect of this. What can you do, aside from the wins and losses that will come, to rally the troops, so to speak, to get them excited and engaged to come out for Towson basketball?
"We've got to get out and meet people and let them get to know our guys and know myself and the staff. We'll create some interest that way. And then try to get on television with our games. That would give us a vehicle to promote what we have here as a university. I've got a great administration here that knows how to think outside the box and has some great ideas with marketing and promotions that are going to come out that will try to increase support. I'm a team guy so whatever it's going to take Mike (Waddell) knows I'm going to do that. If I've got to shake hands and all that good stuff with everybody we're going to do that to get people in those seats. We've got to have a great home court advantage. The sooner we can do that the better. That was probably the most eye-opening thing about being at the University of Pittsburgh last year. You just knew in certain games the visiting teams just didn't have a chance. They walked in and that was it. I want to build that type of environment here as quickly as possible."

Gerry Sandusky, WBAL Channel 11 Sports Director: Pat you're going to switch roles quickly as being recruited by Towson to recruiting for Towson.  What was your perception of this university and its basketball program when the school first approached you? And turning that table, what obstacles will you have to overcome as a recruiter to let people know what you've got going on here?
"Coach (Pat) Kennedy and his staff here assembled some good players and sometimes the ball just doesn't bounce your way. You get a string of bad luck. I just looked at it and said this could be changed and it could change quickly. Maybe it's getting guys healthy and some confidence and building habits will give us a chance to make a move right away. We're in one of the best leagues in the country so we're going to have to earn it. I never looked at the job and said, this is what we don't have. You have to accentuate this is what we do have and go from there.  Certainly, we have a lot to sell here.  My thing is we've got to get guys here on campus, sell them on what we have here. They've got to be able to look me in the eye and believe in what I'm selling them is going to happen. That's going to happen and I have no doubt in my mind that we can do that.

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