College coaches team up for Autism Speaks this weekend - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

College coaches team up for Autism Speaks this weekend

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It's a big weekend of college basketball. North Carolina takes on North Carolina State. Duke has a showdown at Syracuse. Coaches Williams, Gottfried, Krzyzewski and Boeheim won't only be guiding their players on the court. They're all teaming up to support Autism Speaks. 

80 coaches in all have agreed to wear the organization's puzzle piece on their suit jackets. It's part of an effort to raise awareness for a disorder that affects 1 in 88 children and 1 in 54 boys.

Towson University basketball coach Pat Skerry and Marshall University's coach Tom Herrion came up with idea to get all those coaches united in this single cause. Both have sons on the autism spectrum.

"We are really excited to be behind the cause," said Skerry in an interview with Autism Speaks. "When Coach Herrion and myself sat down we knew this was something we were both passionate about and wanted to get behind."

"The goal is to educate all of the country about autism and the depth of what autism is," said Herrion. "It's to talk about how it's affecting our society, including the lives of me and Coach Skerry's. We believe that using the platform and stage of college basketball will help. It's an incredible stage for exposure." 

Herrion says the support they've received from the other coaches has been humbling. Skerry says even non-coaches are getting on board. He says analysts Seth Davis of CBS and Jay Bilas of ESPN have asked for pins to wear on Saturday.  The coaches hope the effort will get people to  stop for a moment to learn more about autism and the issues facing families with children on the spectrum.

"I don't think the country understands how serious a developmental disability (autism) is," said Herrion.  "And I think it's equally important that not all states understand what autism is when it comes to insurance reform. So many kids are falling through the cracks."

"Hopefully after this game we can get involved with experts...and figure out how we can grow this to benefit our game the autism community, and hopefully how to fundraise money towards the autism cause in the future." said Skerry. 

To learn more about Autism Speaks click here. Click here for a list of autism resources.

List of all coaches participating in "Autism Awareness in College Hoops."

  • Pat Skerry - Towson
  • Tom Herrion - Marshall
  • Cuonzo Martin - Tennessee
  • Anthony Grant - Alabama
  • Mike Anderson - Arkansas
  • Johnny Jones - LSU
  • Mark Fox - Georgia
  • Tony Barbee - Auburn
  • Rick Ray - Mississippi State
  • Kevin Stallings - Vanderbilt 
  • Frank Martin - South Carolina
  • Andy Kennedy - Mississippi
  • Frank Haith - Missouri
  • Billy Kennedy - Texas A&M
  • Billy Donovan - Florida
  • Fran McCaffery - Iowa
  • John Groce - Illinois
  • John Thompson III - Georgetown
  • Tom Izzo - Michigan State
  • Chris Collins - Northwestern
  • Richard Pitino - Minnesota
  • Thad Matta - Ohio State
  • Bo Ryan - Wisconsin
  • Steve Donahue - Boston College
  • Mike Brey - Notre Dame
  • Brad Brownell - Clemson
  • Leonard Hamilton - Florida State
  • Mike Krzyzewski - Duke
  • Jim Boeheim - Syracuse
  • Brian Gregory - Georgia Tech
  • Jeff Bzdelik - Wake Forest
  • Mark Turgeon - Maryland
  • James Johnson - Virginia Tech
  • Robert Jones - Norfolk State
  • Jim Larranaga - Miami
  • Mark Gottfried - North Carolina State
  • 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 State
  • Trent Johnson - TCU
  • Tubby Smith - Texas tech
  • Bruce Weber - Kansas State
  • Bob Huggins - West Virginia
  • Bill Self - Kansas
  • Rick Barnes - Texas
  • Lon Kruger - Oklahoma
  • Fred Hoiberg - Iowa State
  • Josh Pastner - Memphis
  • Larry Brown - SMU
  • Jay Wright - Villanova
  • Fran Dunphy - Temple
  • Derek Kellogg - UMass
  • Phil Martelli - St. Joseph's
  • Leon Rice - Boise State
  • 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 st
  • John Dawkins - Stanford
  • Lorenzo Romar - Washington 
  • Ken Bone - Washington State
  • Andy Enfield - USC
  • Dana Altman - Oregon
  • Sean Miller - Arizona
  • Mike Montgomery - California
  • Bruiser Flint- Drexel
  • Mike Jarvis - Florida Atlantic
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