A new era has begun for Towson University mens basketball and the crowed Towson Center was evident of that optimistic future. Director of Athletics Mike Waddell and University President Robert Caret were on hand to announce the new head basketball coach Pat Skerry Tuesday.
Waddell joined Drew Forrester on “The Morning Reaction” Tuesday to shed some light on his new hire and the excitement surrounding the program.
“Well it was a lot of fun, throughout the search we talked to a lot of great people who gave us advice on the search, and we researched candidates,” Waddell said. “We could not be more happy to have Pat Skerry as our new head coach.”
Pat Skerry also joined Forrester on “The Morning Reaction” this past Wednesday to discuss the next chapter of his coaching career at Towson.
“It’s definitely a job I’ve had interest in because of how strong the league is, it’s such a strong institution with the new stadium being built, and the recruiting area that it’s in,” Skerry said.
Skerry is no stranger to area and his resume speaks for itself. He brings 19 years of coaching experience to the table including stints at nine different institutions: 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.
Leaving Pittsburgh and Jamie Dixons staff after one year, where the team won the Big East regular season title posting a mark of 28-6, Skerry is known for being a recruiting guru and plans to bring his knowledge and expertise to Towson right away.
“I want to be a head coach, and any chance to coach in a premier league like the CAA was a great opportunity for me,” Skerry told Forrester. “Pittsburgh is a place you could stay at for a long time because you could win 25 games a year and working for a hall of fame coach, but I’ve been more used to going in to programs that needed to be jump start or infused with some energy, seeing this opportunity…a lot of people will tell you ‘I don’t know if you can do that, or this or that’ I’m looking at it the other way… why not, what don’t we have to try to improve, and let’s take a swing at it to make it happen.”
After a magical run in NCAA Tournament, VCU solidified the Colonial Athletic Association prominence as strong and powerful league. Forrester asked Waddell on what it meant to have that national exposure throughout the tournament.
“I think it definitely helped, and when you look at us being a three bit league right now in the CAA, that’s a real selling point. And along with the commitment we’re making to the program across the board at Towson University it’s going to be an outstanding opportunity for a coach to come and make his mark.”
The new coach also touched on the strength of the CAA and the team left by the former coach of Towson, Pat Kennedy.
“You’re right it’s a prominent major conference in the country, and there’s great coaches throughout it,” Skerry said. “I think Coach Kennedy and his staff, they did a good job of getting some pretty good players in here, and I think like anything sometimes injuries and the ball not bouncing your way can kind of hurt you and have a negative effect, but they’ve left some talented guys here and we’ve got to scratch and claw and get better and we’ve got to figure out a way to not just compete, but beat the teams in this league, and I think the kids are hungry to give ourselves a shot.”
Looking towards the future, Waddell envisions Towson basketball as a bright one with Pat Skerry at the helm.
“[I’m] behind Pat Skerry and his mission for building Tiger Basketball, we have a great program in terms of its history,” Waddell told Forrester. “What you look at now is what’s it going to take to get it back? It’s going to take administrative support, and that’s what we get them, and adding in some great opportunities, in terms of support staff, academic support, strength and conditioning support, better housing on campus for our men’s and women’s basketball teams, the conversion of the Towson Center into a new practice facility, until the new tiger arena is constructed in the Spring of 2013, all of these were long term commitments we were willing to make, and gladly as we wanted to make it to the race to be one of the top teams in our league, that’s the CAA. And fellas if you’re in the top of the CAA you’re on the brink of doing something special on the national scene.”
When fans come to Towson Center next fall, they are going to see a different style of basketball according to Coach Skerry.
“Ultimately, we’ve got to guard, we’ve got to rebound, and we’ve got to compete, we’ve got to get tough, and when we learn to guard we can start to play up-tempo environmentally, I’m a big believer in spending time on skill development every day, guys have got to spend time handling the ball and shooting the ball, and being able to create their own shot, develop some skill, play fast on offense, but we’ve got to guard and rebound and we’ve got to be tough mentally.”