In 2011 Pat Skerry took on one of the nation’s toughest rebuilding projects when he accepted Towson’s offer to become the men’s basketball program’s head coach. And that first season revealed just how difficult the job would be, as the Tigers managed to win just one game (1-31).
Things would get even tougher as it was revealed that the program would be banned from postseason play in 2012-13 due to low APR numbers. But despite the additional hurdle of having their season come to an end prematurely the Tigers increased their win total by 17 games, going 18-13 and finishing one game behind Northeastern in the CAA.
With the dramatic improvement on the court and success on the recruiting trail putting Towson in position to be a consistent contender in the transformed CAA, Skerry’s been rewarded with a contract extension through the 2018-19 season.
“Watching Coach Skerry’s historic turnaround with the Towson men’s basketball program both academically and competitively in the last two years, we are excited to announce this extension,” interim Director of Athletics Tricia Turley Brandenburg said in the release. “Pat and his staff have done a tremendous job developing and recruiting the type of student-athletes that are willing to work hard on the court and in the classroom.
“With the opening of SECU Arena this year, Towson is poised to be an annual contender in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) and carry the banner for its alumni and the city of Baltimore. A stable and winning basketball program will only provide more financial security to our department and provide all of our teams the resources needed to be successful.”
There are plenty of changes happening that will directly affect the Towson basketball program, and Skerry’s work to this point has the Tigers well-positioned to take advantage of the opportunity. Not only is there the aforementioned new arena but they’re now in a league that added the College of Charleston, while losing traditional powers such as VCU and George Mason (both are now in the Atlantic 10) the last two years.
Towson returns its top four scorers from last season, most notably forward and reigning CAA Player of the Year Jerrelle Benimon (17.1 ppg, 11.2 rpg). While teams such as Charleston, Delaware and Northeastern will be heard from, Towson has the look of a program capable of reaching the NCAA tournament for the first time since they made consecutive appearances in 1990 and 1991.
“We would not be primed for greatness if it was not for the support of our President Maravene Loeschke and our athletics administration over the last two years,” Skerry said. “I also want to thank our interim Director of Athletics Tricia Turley Brandenburg for her time and persistence negotiating this contract extension. There has never been a better time to be a Tiger.”