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.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

A Kate Burkholder Retrospective

By Mel Greenberg

When rock stars produce enough hit recordings, eventually the compilation album appears.

Well, in a parlance of WNBA rookies, you can talk about Cappie, you can talk about Seimone, you can talk about Sophia, and you can talk about Candice, but none came close to the week that our WNBA rookie correspondent Kate Burkholder had at the blog had this week.

Maybe it's because she hadn't written here in over a month while enjoying her summer vacation, maybe it's the Rutgers' crowd's lust for anything about Cappie, but this week KB caught your fancy in record numbers.

Since our report from Connecticut for the Phoenix game, Kate had two contributions here -- one on Cappie Pondexter's Madison Square Garden appearance against the Liberty, which several of you at other sites established links, and an excellent column on the all-star game that many of you may have missed while reading other reports.

All told, however, Kate went platinum this week and we're not talking about a trip to the hairdresser.

Two months ago, a colleague here at the Inquirer showed us how to install a statcounter to report numbers of visit. It's quite possible Kate's earlier work also caught major attention, but we had no way of knowing at the time.

But in the last week through late last Sunday, over 600 hits have been recorded here, raising the daily average way above the 25 or 30 visits.

By comparison, the Guru drew two flies to his salad during the media feed at the All-Star practice session on Tuesday. Some editor here noted: "Well you can't say you don't draw flies."

The Guru is also pleased to have landed Kate her first paid gig for a magazine piece soon to appear and we'll tell you when that happens.

Hold it! Before you think it, of course she has previously received a meaningful expense value and several gifts to enhance her coverage from the Guru foundation, but that goes with the territory.

As a public service for those of you who recently discovered her work (and remember, she had not set foot on the WNBA scene until the draft), here's our chance to show off her past efforts here so you don't have to go through an adventure finding her contributions. Hopefully, the Guru's recently learned tricks on linking will work, so here goes.

Those of you who follow her work covering the Rutgers women in the Daily Targum know of her excellent work there. Over here, of course, Kate has had to write for a much larger audience and one beyond the realm of her daily work during school. She has made that transformation seamlessly as you will see.

MARCH-EARLY APRIL

Kate opened with a blog diary upon our arrival.

Then it was a preview of the national semifinals.

Then it was time for another behind-the-scenes blog.

The Guru managed to also land Kate a gig filing for what was known at the time as the KRT (Knight Ridder-Tribune) campus wire going to some 300 high school and college campuses. The wire now lives as the MCT campus wire after the sale of the holding to the McClatchy chain and they have already sent the Guru the word that she is welcome to continue her work in the near future.

Her first piece and exposure to the WNBA/USA Baseball crowd occured at a practice at Boston College and the Guru copied her work into our site here.

Next came a story about Maryland, the eventual NCAA champion.

In Kate's first introduction to the WNBA world, she wrote a draft day story the morning after the national championship.

Then came an NCAA wrap up for the campus wire that we hijacked with permission to our site.

MID-APRIL

Deciding to tell an out-of-school tale while still in school, Kate decided to notify Guru-nation of a certain birthday.

An impressive interview with Rutgers Hall of Fame coach C. Vivian Stringer in the Daily Targum forced us to add to the readership by also running Kate's chat at this site.

A class assignment transformed Kate into a self-appointed official biographer of the life of the Guru, which she also posted here as a surprise. (Yes, she got an "A").

She quickly relished her new role by announcing the ECAC-SIDA media award that went to the Guru in June. (Guru is finding it tough to write refer to himself to make this all work :) )

MAY

Kate got her first taste of a WNBA game, an exhibition encounter, and wrote about the roster changes of the New York Liberty.

Then came this special Kate's Take column on the WNBA entering its 10th season.

JULY

No this is not a mistake. June was for working on the magazine piece on the rules changes and vacationing in Florida.

A week ago, Kate confirmed the Guru's announcement with a personality greeting that she was back on the scene.

Then came the well-written Cappie story and the All-Star column.

And that's where we are. If these links don't work, the Guru will try to make fixes later Sunday when he is working on the desk in the sports dept.

If you want to tell Kate how much you enjoy here work, as well as Jonathan Tannenweld's coverage from the Mystics when we're not in D.C., feel free to do so in the apporpriate place below.

In other news, the Dawn Staley page at Philly.com is expected to roll out this week, we'll let you all know as we prepare for her final weeks of her storied playing career.

Until next time.

-- Mel

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