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Calls to Action

Coaches Skerry, Herrion Bringing Autism Awareness to College Basketball

January 22, 2014

Towson University men's basketball coach Pat Skerry is making headlines for his work to raise autism awareness. Sports Illustrated's website recently featured Coach Skerry and Marshall University Coach Tom Herrion for their efforts to designate February 1st Autism Awareness Day in NCAA Men's College Basketball. The two coaches, who are friends, have begun a campaign to get college basketball's top coaches to wear an Autism Speaks puzzle piece pin during their televised games on Feb. 1.  

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.

Coach Skerry's 4-year-old son Owen has autism and is the inpiration behind his push for college basketball to promote autism awareness. Coach Harrion also has a child with 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. Watch the video below, as Calhoun tells a crowd of more than 220 golfers at our 2013 Celebrity Golf Challenge how he balked at the NCAA rule that prohibited the pin.