Pat Skerry, Tom Herrion speak out for autism awareness


Pat Skerry and Tom Herrion are bound by more than basketball.

They forged a friendship when Skerry was an assistant for Herrion at the College of Charleston from 2002-06. Now their competitive friendship has taken on a new form.

Skerry, Towson’s head coach and Herrion, a Georgia Tech assistant coach, share a common cause through Autism Speaks.

Autism, caused by a combination of genetic and environmental influences, costs a family $60,000 per year on average.

Skerry’s son Owen was diagnosed after his wife Christine noticed Owen wasn’t showing the same developmental characteristics as his older brother. Owen, who is 6, attends full-day kindergarten at a Baltimore-area public school.

Pat Skerry and son Owen, above, on the Towson University campus. (Photo courtesy of Towson University.)
Pat Skerry and son Owen, above, on the Towson University campus. (Photo courtesy of Towson University.)

“He’s got an aide, but he’s full-day kindergarten,” Skerry recently told WBAL. “It’s been off-the-charts good.”

Herrion’s son Robert, 8, was also diagnosed as autistic and the coaches decided to leverage their basketball relationships to drive an autism awareness campaign.

Out of their determination came College Basketball Autism Awareness Weekend on Feb. 7-9, usually marked the first weekend in February. Rick Pitino, Mike Krzyzewski, John Calipari and others showed their support by wearing blue puzzle piece lapel pins.

So what is it like to be the father of a child with autism? In a June 2014 speech to Autism Speaks, Herrion recalled preparing for a day of golf on Father’s Day when Robert shared with his father, “Dad, you’re my best friend.” It meant the world to Herrion.

And as he was about to leave, Herrion paused and watched his son playing with their family dog Marco. He heard Robert say, “Marco, you’re my best friend.”

The audience roared with laughter.

Autism Speaks
1 East 33rd Street, 4th Floor
New York, NY 10016







Mark Adams

Mark Adams

Mark Adams is a college basketball analyst for American Sports Network and on the ESPN family of networks. Adams was a college basketball coach for 17 years who was known as a program rebuilder. During those years, he took over programs that were a combined 28-54 (.341) in the season prior to his arrival compared to his combined final season record at those same three schools of 59-32 (.648). In addition to his coaching career, Adams was the director of athletics at Rocky Mountain College in Billings, Montana.

In his spare time, Adams has written eight books, most recently, “Why We Win- Followership and Leadership Strategies for Team Success,” “Redwoods- Spread Your Roots and Coach Your Team to Success!” “Winning in Overtime: Championship Sales Strategies From a Championship Coach!” and two children’s stories titled: “Bucky’s Best Friend” and “A Boy Named Bucky.”

Adams is a national motivational speaker, published author, business consultant and was recently inducted into the Rocky Mountain College athletic Ring of Honor.

Basketball Coaching Experience
1991-96: Head Coach, Central Connecticut State University (led country in blocked shots 1995 and 1996
1989-91: Assistant Coach, Washington State University
1985-89: Head Coach, Western Oregon University, (West Division Champions)
1982-85: Head Coach, Rocky Mountain College, Montana, (NAIA National Tournament Bid)
1979-82: Assistant Coach, Idaho State University under Lynn Archibald