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, November 12, 2006

Mel Greenberg to be Inducted into Women's Basketball Hall of Fame

By Jonathan Tannenwald

Hello all you followers of the Guru out there. You might remember me as the Mystics correspondent for this blog for the last two summers. Well, as Mel noted here earlier in the fall, I was hired at Philly.com -- the website for the Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News to be a producer and help run the website.

Part of my job involves a 6 a.m. Sunday shift to help arrange the site and clean it up for the afternoon's Eagles game and all those who sign on well after the sun rises to read the online edition of the day's Inquirer. As such, I can relay to this blog far earlier than Mel would that the Guru will be introduced today as one of six new inductees into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tenn.

The announcement will be made this afternoon during halftime of the Rutgers-Georgia game at 1 p.m. Eastern Time, the first game of the State Farm Tip-Off Classic doubleheader at the University of Oklahoma's Lloyd Noble Center. Mel is in Norman this weekend, as he noted on the blog on Friday, and I am fairly sure that he is not awake yet.

He did, however, give me permission to write this post, because the Inquirer was allowed to break the embargo on the news in its print edition this morning. As the day's stories are posted to Philly.com at 3 a.m. Eastern, I am technically reporting something that has already been reported. The print story can be read here, and since part of my day job involves tracking the number of hits various stories get on the site, I would encourage all of you to click on that story as many times as you like. If you're in the Philadelphia region, you could also show your support for Mel by buying the Inquirer.

(Yes, that is a pretty blatant shill, but given the company's financial situation, I hope you'll forgive it, because we do need as much revenue as we can get.)

Anyway, back to more important matters. This is the sixth major award Mel has received, with his first -- the WBCA Media Award, later renamed in his honor -- coming in 1991. He also won the 2005 Jake Wade Award, presented annually by the nation's sports information directors to a member of the media that made significant contributions to college sports.

I am sure that Mel will enjoy sharing the spotlight this weekend with two of the game's top coaches, Rutgers' C. Vivian Stringer and Georgia's Andy Landers. They are third (750) and ninth (657) all time in wins respectively in the women's game. I do not have any statistics for how many games Mel has covered in his career, but I am sure it is plenty high.

Now you may be wondering about the current state of another writer for this blog, Kate Burkholder, who covers Rutgers as an associate sports editor for the school's student newspaper, the Daily Targum. I do not know if she is traveling to Norman this weekend, but my vague recollection is that she is not. Which is understandable, at least from my perspective, given that the Scarlet Knights' football team has captured the nation's attention with its undefeated season, possible Big East championship, and the berth in a big-money BCS bowl game that would come with that.

Nonetheless, Kate wrote a preview of the Rutgers-Georgia game that you can read here. As my college newspaper career did not end all that long ago, I can tell you that the Targum's website is well worth a visit for those of you looking for the latest news on the Scarlet Knights. I understand that this blog gets a lot of traffic from Rutgers fans, so I probably don't have to tell you that, but perhaps it will be worth something to everyone else.

For the one or two of you out there (i.e. my mother and perhaps the Mystics' P.R. staff) who are interested in my journalistic exploits these days I am actually in Syracuse, N.Y., at the moment, where I am watching the Penn men's team play in the 2006 Black Coaches Association Invitational tournament. In addition to my work with the website, I've been helping the Inquirer with its coverage of Penn sports on occasions, though I am not here for that particular purpose this weekend. Nonetheless, you might see my byline around a few more times in the months to come on stories about the Quakers as well as the the local women's basketball scene in Philadelphia.

That's enough from me. Hopefully your eyes didn't glaze over at any point in this post, which I realize is pretty long. My heartfelt congratulations to Mel, who has helped me a lot in my journalistic career since I met him at a Penn women's game at the Palestra in Philadelphia while covering the Penn women in the 2003-04 season. I'm privileged to now work in the same building as him, and hopefully we'll both still be around after the current round of labor unease finally comes to an end.


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