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, March 11, 2006

Chewing The Fat - II

By Mel Greenberg


For the first time in the 25-year history of the NCAA women's tournament, none of these three teams will appear -- Penn State, Texas Tech, and Texas.

Most times, all three have been in the field of 64, and many times all have been given prominent seeds. But not this season. The RPI drops of the three are worth noting from the previous two seasons. Texas Tech, whose coach Marsha Sharp has resigned, but not because of the record, has dipped on a 12-13-63 slope. Texas has slanted on a 5-12-54 path. And Penn State, which is a host site next weekend, is on a 3-20-98 plunge.

Your Two Cents

On Sunday, besides the final balloting to complete 30 years of AP voting history (we'll have numbers next week and lists to help kill time waiting for the Dance music), we have to select Coach of the Year, Player of the Year, and three teams of five for the all-American vote.

Here's your chance to lobby me through Sunday afternoon. The Inquirer email address is mgreenberg@phillynews.com.

From a national perspective, I'm thinking about Sherri Coale at Oklahoma, Gary Blair at Texas A&M, and Sylvia Hatchell at North Carolina.

But there were others I thought of, especially those that made impacts on their arrival or achievements in recent seasons.

Coming to mind are St. John's Kim Barnes Arico, Charlotte's Amanda Butler (for challenging in the Atlantic Ten), California's Joanne Boyle, Louisiana Tech's Chris Long (who got the job quicker than I could fill a request from a Techster type who asked me in Indy last year to lobby for Long), Army's Maggie Dixon, Stony Brook's Maura McHugh, Tulsa's Charlene Thomas-Swinson, and Pittsburgh's Agnus Berenato, to name a few. Also a special mention Kathy Olivier for winning the PAC-10, and to Joan Bonvicini, for staying the course at Arizona after the preseason tragedy there.

Congrats to Bill Jauss

In what was a very competitive field this year, former Chicago Tribune sportswriter Bill Jauss, who retired in December, has won the Women's Basketball Coaches Association media award, which is formally called a name similar to the byline at the top of these blogs. :)

Anyhow, one of the most pleasing things about making this year's presentation at the Women's Final Four at the WBCA Convention, is that I'll be giving it to someone who is actually older than me. Bill has done great work over the year and he was actually nominated by DePaul coach Doug Bruno, the current WBCA present.

But I can personally verify the books were not cooked.

Tiger's Tale or The Super Bowl Coach and Me.

So when it was no longer worthwhile to hike up to Hartford for the Big East championship game, the final Penn-Princeton clash was being played up the road near Trenton, one of venues for first and second round games, and considering Princeton was after a tie in the Ivies, the evening seemed worthwhile enough.

It just so happens, that the Tigers have a super sophomore named Meagan Cowher, whose father happens to be the winning Super Bowl coach in Pittsburgh. He also is married to one of the former Wriggly Doublemint Twins, whose other claim to fame was that Kaye and her sister Faye starred at North Carolina State.

And so it was that yours truly approached Mr. Cowher at halftime, introduced myself, and then said, "Bill, when you get back home, tell Kaye you met me and I said I am so old that I'm the only one who has written about both your wife and daughter during their collegiate basketball careers. :)

And with that, it's on to more serious stuff in the next blog.

-- Mel

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