Skerry Comes To Pitt

After nearly a month and a half of being open, Jamie Dixon now has a full coaching staff again. On Friday, it became official as Providence assistant Pat Skerry switches Big East schools, taking over as associate head coach at Pitt.

Skerry replaces Tom Herrion, who left Pitt last month, to take over as the new head coach at Marshall. He spent the last two seasons as an assistant at Providence, and was an assistant at Rhode Island for three seasons before that.

"We are excited about Pat becoming a member of the university community and I know he is ecstatic to be coming to Pittsburgh," Dixon said. "Pat has worked with some outstanding coaches including 2008 National Coach of the Year Keno Davis and Rhode Island coach Jim Baron. He will help us in recruiting, scouting and player development. We are fortunate to have a coach with his well-rounded and vast background, along with an individual who has previous head coaching experience."

Skerry, who comes to Pitt with 19 years of coaching experience, doesn't view the title of associate head coach as the reason for coming to Pitt, as much as he looks for just being part of the coaching staff. At the age of 26, Skerry was the second-youngest head coach in the nation, taking over at Curry College in Massachusetts for two seasons. He's already had a taste of what it's like being a head coach, and now appears to be on track to do the same in Division I.

"I'm going up as an assistant, it's nothing about the title," Skerry said. "My thing is everyone wants to be a head coach. Yeah, it will help my individual career goal. But, it's really about being a part of a great staff with Brandin (Knight), Pat Sandle, Brian Regan and Rasheen Davis, who is another up-and-coming guy. I want to come in, fit in and do whatever they ask me to do."

Herrion is the fourth assistant under Jamie Dixon to be named head coach. Mike Rice, now at Rutgers, took over at Robert Morris after just two seasons at Pitt. Barry Rohrssen took over at Manhattan after a number of years under Dixon and Ben Howland. Lombardi went back to his roots at IUP, where he led them to the Division II national championship game this past season.

Skerry appears to have the pedigree to be a head coach some day, much like those who have filled this position before him. Ironically, Skerry served two seasons as an assistant to Herrion when he was the head coach at College of Charleston. At Providence, in just two years--a place where Herrion also served as an assistant coach--Skerry was instrumental in the two recruiting classes the Friars signed. He also helped Providence to 19 wins in his first year as an assistant, and an NIT berth.

When Herrion's position came open, Skerry saw a number of things he was intrigued with that made him want to apply for the job.

"I think, obviously, Coach Dixon and athletic department has been able to build the enthusiasm and make it an unbelievable place to be," Skerry said. "When you think of Pitt, you think of the culture of winning, the toughness, the unselfishness. Coach Dixon has instilled that. It's a great mentality. The one constant they do is win. There's a lot of reasons."

When Dixon offered him the job, he didn't hesitate to accept.

"It happened very quickly this week," Skerry said. "Coach offered me the job (Thursday), I accepted, and I'm excited to come to the City of Champions. With Coach Dixon, the whole program, I'm looking forward to being a part of that."

Much like Herrion, Skerry's recruiting ties are in the northeast. Because of his last two stints with Providence and Rhode Island, he has had some continuity building and maintaining relationships in that area of the country, a key area for success in the Big East. Skerry, though, doesn't view himself as strictly a northeast guy, mostly because of other stops he's had.

"I'm pretty comfortable all over," Skerry said. "I've spent the last five years coaching in New England, where there's a lot of prep schools. I also spent five years in the south. I'm pretty comfortable on the east coast. Recruiting, though, is developing and building relationships. There's such a great product to sell, here at Pitt."

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