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Autism Awareness Day in College B-Ball Gaining Momentum

More Than 80 Major College Coaches Plan to Wear the Autism Speaks Puzzle Piece Pin
January 28, 2014

Marshall coach Tom Herrion and Towson Coach Pat Skerry(January 28, 2014) -  Two college basketball coaches, both with sons who have autism, are bringing something special to game day this weekend.  Not only will Towson's Pat Skerry and Marshall's Tom Herrion be wearing the Autism Speaks puzzle piece pin during their games on Feb. 1, they've convinced about 80 other coaches around the country to join them.  Their efforts have culminated into the first Autism Awareness Day in NCAA Men's College Basketball this Saturday.

Coach Skerry's 4-year-old son Owen has autism and is the inspiration behind his push for college basketball to promote autism awareness. Coach Herrion also has a child with autism.

Among the coaches who have signed on to wear the pin on Feb. 1 are Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, Michigan State’s Tom Izzo, Kansas’ Bill Self, Syracuse’s Jim Boeheim and Arizona’s Sean Miller.

In an interview with "Sporting News," Skerry talked about how important the cause is to his family. "Some nights I’ll go upstairs to talk with my wife, and she’ll say, ‘Don’t bother me, I’m busy trying to cure autism.’ ”

If former UConn head coach Jim Calhoun were still coaching, he almost certainly would be wearing his puzzle piece pin. He rarely took it off. Calhoun has a granddaughter with autism and is an outstanding supporter of Autism Speaks and the autism community. He was even fined by the NCAA for wearing the Autism Speaks pin during a March Madness game. "I wear it or I don't coach," he said. 

For more on the Autism Awareness Day in college baskettball read our Q&A with Coach Skerry and Coach Herrion here

Click here to view the full schedule of NCAA division I basketball games for Feb. 1 along with the TV listings.

The list of coaches who will be participating:

Pat Skerry- Towson

Tom Herrion- Marshall

Bruiser Flint- Drexel

Mike Jarvis- Florida Atlantic

John Calipari- Kentucky

Frank Haith- Missouri

Cuonzo Martin- Tennessee

Anthony Grant- Alabama

Mike Anderson- Arkansas

Johnny Jones- LSU

Mark Fox- Georgia

Tony Barbee- Auburn

Rick Ray- Mississippi St

Kevin Stallings- Vanderbilt

Frank Martin- South Carolina

Andy Kennedy- Mississippi

Billy Kennedy- Texas A&M

Billy Donovan- Florida

Fran McCaffery- Iowa

John Groce- Illinois

John Thompson III- Georgetown

Tom Izzo- Michigan St

Chris Collins- Northwestern

Richard Pitino- Minnesota

Thad Matta- Ohio st

Bo Ryan- Wisconsin

Steve Donahue- Boston college

Mike Brey- Notre Dame

Brad Brownell- Clemson

Leonard Hamilton- Florida St

Mike Krzyzewski- Duke

Jim Boeheim- Syracuse

Brian Gregory- Georgia tech

Jeff Bzdelik- Wake Forest

Mark Turgeon- Maryland

James Johnson- Virginia Tech

Robert Jones- Norfolk St

Jim larranaga- Miami

Mark Gottfried- North Carolina St

Roy Williams- North Carolina

Mike Lonergan- George Washington

Archie Miller- Dayton

Paul Hewitt- George Mason

Jim Crews- St. Louis

Chris Mooney- Richmond

Shaka Smart- VCU

Buzz Williams- Marquette

Steve Lavin- St. John's

Kevin Willard- Seton Hall

Chris Mack- Xavier

Ed Cooley- Providence

Oliver Purnell- DePaul

Scott Drew- Baylor

Travis Ford- Oklahoma St

Trent Johnson- TCU

Tubby Smith- Texas Tech

Bruce Weber- Kansas St

Bob Huggins- West Virginia

Bill Self- Kansas

Rick Barnes- Texas

Lon Kruger- Oklahoma

Fred Hoiberg- Iowa St

Josh Pastner- Memphis

Larry Brown- SMU

Jay wright Villanova

Fran Dunphy- Temple

Derek Kellogg- U Mass

Phil Martelli- St. Joseph's

Leon Rice- Boise St

Dave Rice- UNLV

James Dickey- Houston

Eddie Jordan- Rutgers

Donnie Jones- Central Florida

Rick Pitino- Louisville

Larry Krystkowiak- Utah

Tad Boyle- Colorado

Herb Sendek- Arizona State

John Dawkins- Stanford

Lorenzo Romar- Washington

Ken Bone- Washington State

Andy Enfield- USC

Dana Altman- Oregon

Sean Miller- Arizona

Mike Montgomery- California