It took just two years for Pat Skerry to revitalize the Towson men's basketball program and bring the Tigers back into the national spotlight. Skerry, who took over a program that had endured 15 straight losing seasons, wasted little time in righting the ship.
After a disappointing season in Skerry's first year in which he took over a team that returned just one letterwinner from the prior season, the second-year head coach guided the Tigers to an 18-13 overall record during 2012-13. It marked the largest single-season turnaround in NCAA Division I men's basketball history. Skerry was recognized by his peers and the media as the 2013 CAA Coach of the Year.
The 2012-13 season was a year of many milestones for the Tigers, who posted their first winning record since 1995-96 and their highest victory total since 1993-94.
Towson went 13-5 in the CAA, placing second in the final league standings. It was the most wins and best ever finish for the Tigers since joining the league in 2001. Towson swept longtime rivals Drexel, Hofstra and Delaware. It was the first time that the Tigers had ever done that in the 27 seasons the four teams have been in the same conference.
Skerry also guided Towson to one of its biggest non-conference wins when the Tigers stunned Oregon State on its home floor on December 29, 2011. It was Towson's first win over a BCS school since 1995 when the Tigers topped Louisville.
Much of Towson's success during Skerry's second year can be traced to the transfers and recruiting class that he and his coaching staff brought in.
Skerry used his BIG EAST conference ties to bring in eventual CAA Player of the Year and 2013 Lou Henson Award finalist Jerrelle Benimon, who posted a NCAA-leading 20 double-doubles. Benimon, a Georgetown transfer, averaged 17.1 points and was among the NCAA leaders in rebounding at 11.2 boards per game.
Skerry was also able to bring in Bilal Dixon from Providence College and Mike Burwell from the University of South Florida, along with a recruiting class that was ranked as the best in the CAA and sixth among all non-BCS schools, according to CBS Sports.
Known as a relentless recruiter, Skerry was able to lock down a commitment from guard Jerome Hairston, who came to Towson rated the No. 114 overall prospect in the country according to Rivals.com. Skerry also found success going to the junior college ranks as JUCO transfers Marcus Damas and Rafriel Guthrie have played major roles in the Tigers turnaround.
Under Skerry's leadership, the Tigers will be poised for another noteworthy season in 2013-14 as Towson returns four of five starters and adds 2012 America East Rookie of the Year Four McGlynn and another solid recruiting class.
Skerry, a 21-year coaching veteran, has succeeded in changing the culture of the Towson men's basketball program. During his first semester as head coach, his players posted the highest GPA for a Towson men's basketball team in over a decade.
Skerry, who was named the Tigers' head coach on April 5th, 2011, has spent time building his resume of success at 10 different schools: Towson 2011-present, 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.
In 2010-11, 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 ESPN.com, including two of the Top 60 incoming players.
Skerry spent 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 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 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 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 where he helped direct 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.
Pat and his wife, Kristen, have two sons, Ryan and Owen.
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.