Skerry brings Autism Awareness to the national spotlight

Over 300 college basketball coaches and broadcasters show support for Towson Men's Basketball coach Pat Skerry.

The Towson Men's Basketball team wore blue jerseys for Saturday's game against Elon to help with Autism awareness.
The Towson Men's Basketball team wore blue jerseys for Saturday's game against Elon to help with Autism awareness.

For Towson Men’s Basketball Coach Pat Skerry, the past week has been about more than just his normal week of basketball. It’s been about family.

This past weekend, the men’s basketball team partnered with Autism Speaks and The Hussman Center for Adults with Autism to host the Tigers’ annual Autism Awareness Game.

The game has become a tradition on the Towson campus, because it’s a subject so close to Skerry and his family, who has, in turn, made it important to the college basketball world.

Skerry's youngest son, Owen, was identified as being on the autism spectrum when he was just 18 months old. Since taking over the Towson men's basketball program in 2011, Skerry has continued to hold an Autism Awareness game to raise awareness for the developmental disorder that impacts 1 in 62 children in the United States.

CBS Sports: Coaches unite to fight Autism.

Teaming up with Georgia Tech assistant Tom Herrion, whose son is also on the autism spectrum, Skerry has brought together coaches, broadcasters and the college basketball community to raise awareness for autism through college basketball’s weekly national television showcase on Saturday afternoons.

NCAA: Towson’s Skerry powering forward to raise autism awareness

Over 300 coaches, as well as broadcasters and referees, wore a pin on their lapel as part of Coaches Powering Forward, a program promoting a weekend of college basketball that shows support and awareness to those on the Autism Spectrum.

Notable coaches who wore the pins this weekend include Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, Michigan State’s Tim Izzo, Kansas’ Bill Self , and Kentucky’s John Calipari. Hundreds of other coaches were seen on the sidelines with blue pin standing out on their suits.

Fox Sports: Autism awareness pins have added meaning for two college basketball coaches.

This past Saturday’s game at Towson’s SECU Arena followed the script as the Tigers, wearing light blue jerseys as part of autism awareness, defeated Elon 67-56. It was the team’s 19th victory of the season and clinching a first round by in the CAA Tournament.

More importantly, it allowed Towson University to showcase many local autism programs, including the university’s own Hussman Center for Adults with Autism (which saw one of its clients open the game by reading the starting lineups). More importantly, it provided families a fun afternoon of college basketball away from the hectic responsibilities of daily life, which is a win that doesn’t show up on the scoreboard.