Womhoops Guru

Mel Greenberg covered college and professional women’s basketball for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where he worked for 40 plus years. Greenberg pioneered national coverage of the game, including the original Top 25 women's college poll. His knowledge has earned him nicknames such as "The Guru" and "The Godfather," as well as induction into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.

Saturday, April 02, 2005

The Masses Arrive

By Mel Greenberg

INDIANAPOLIS _ The doors to the hotel lobby swung open and one Geno Auriemma quickly sauntered up to the check-in desk at the headquarters of the Women's Basketball Coaches Association's annual convention held in association with the NCAA Women's Final Four.

It was an experience Auriemma had not undergone at these events since 1999.

For the past five Women's Finals, the coach of the Connecticut Huskies women has hit the town with his team on a bus from the airport with a full police escort.

But for the first time in a while, Auriemma's Huskies were back home in Storrs, having been eliminated last Sunday by Stanford in the Kansas City Regional semifinals.

Thus, it was like the old days at the sports bar before Connecticut became powerful, especially having won three straight NCAA titles through last season and also participating in two previous finals, including the one in Philadelphia when Auriemma enjoyed raising a championship trophy just down the road from his early roots.

As Auriemma settled in among a small crowd of veteran coaches, he gazed around at the room and commented, "Who are all these people?"

"You've been locked away at this event the past five years," Auriemma was told, "while all these folks grew up into becoming coaches."

The bar also contained WNBA types, who will be on hand at tonight's annual mega-mingle party.

As for the working stiffs here -- namely us -- today consists of a marathon of events, beginning with the ESPN media briefing, which will get under way in a few hours.

That will be followed by the announcement of the WBCA's Kodak all-America team.

Next comes the practices and press conferences of the four participating teams just across the way in the RCA Dome.

Then, it's back here in the media hotel headquarters for the presentation of the Associated Press player and coach of the year awards.

That will be followed by the annual high school and senior collegiate all-America games.

Later tonight, there's the aforementioned WNBA bash along with the annual host committee party, which will be held in the NCAA headquarters' Hall of Champions.

Oh yes, a story and a notebook will be filed to the Inquirer chronicling what there is to chronicle today and tonight.

And we'll be back here as we go and will offer the rest of the day's activities.


-- Mel

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