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.

Friday, March 23, 2007

Road to Knoxville and Women's Basketball Hall of Fame

Guru's Note: As many of you have gathered, we've been a little, ahem, busy with a print story and also getting set up here in Greensboro for the next round of the NCAAs.

But Karen Tucker, the WBHOF director of basketball relations, has checked in with more info on activities from Knoxville. In her previous life at the New Haven Register, she would have just dumped the newspaper's budget to get to Fresno with UConn.

Instead, here's another flex of her writing muscles with a report. And, yes, you Rutgers folks, Aditi and Bridget are back on the trail and arrived here early Thursday night. Having seen tem well fed, we now have to show them the way to the arena. We'll be back later.

By Karen Tucker

Greetings from Knoxville!

Since there are a few days between NCAA tournament games, I figured I’d keep you all entertained with the latest news from the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.

Plans for the 2007 Induction are well underway. Information is starting to spill in about who will represent each of the six inductees the night of the actual Induction Ceremony and perhaps I can leak some of that out through this blog in the next few months.

In the meantime, here's how to get your tickets for the 2007 Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame Induction Weekend, June 8-9 in Knoxville, Tennessee:

In order to be a part of this spectacular event, please call the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame at 865-633-9000 or order online at www.wbhof.com. Ticket packages range from $75-$5,000, including tickets to the Gala Reception and/or Induction Ceremony on Saturday night, “Chronicles of Legends” dinner on Friday night. Corporate packages are tax deductible.

This year’s inductees, Andrea Lloyd Curry, Pamela Kelly-Flowers, Daedra Charles-Furlow, Bridgette Gordon, Mel Greenberg and Andy Landers, will receive the coveted Eastman Award during Saturday’s “Night of Legends” at the Tennessee Theatre.

Don’t miss your chance to be a part of history!

This weekend the Junior Pro National Championship Tournament comes to Knoxville.
Forty-three teams will compete in six different divisions until a national champion is crowned. Last year's champions were LaFollettee, TN (Coed Instructional), Northwest Mystics, TN (Girl’s training league), E.K.B.L., TN (Girl’s Junior Varsity Restricted), Lakeview Optimist, IN (Boy’s Instructional), Knoxville Dreissig, TN (Boy’s Training league), Club Express, MI (Boy’s Junior Varsity Restricted)

Stay tuned to see who earns the 2007 titles.

Also in Knoxville was the recent VIP Movie Premiere for Believe in Me. The movie, which tells the true story of legendary Oklahoma high school basketball coach Jim Keith, premiered in Knoxville on March 8 before being released in select markets nation wide on March 9. The day was a huge success!

It started with a tour of the Hall of Fame with Jim Keith, his wife, son and daughter-in-law, original players from the Sayre High School team and their families, Executive Producer Wayne Gilbert, Associate Producer Sean Dugan and family, and lead actors Jeffrey Donovan and Samantha Mathis.

The Oklahoma memorabilia in the Hall was of particular interest and the most entertaining part of the tour may have been when Jeffrey Donovan, in full actor mode, jumped "In the Huddle" exhibit and started shouting out orders to the "players." Even Jim Keith got a kick out of the coaching rendition.

Following the tour the group went to Calhoun’s for the true taste of Knoxville while overlooking the beautiful Tennessee River. Immediately from lunch, I raced to the airport to greet Director/Screenwriter Bob Collector and bring him to the Pinnacle Theatre at Turkey Creek to tape “Live at Five.”

Finally it was time to walk the red carpet. The limo arrived with Jim Keith, his family, the producers, and Donovan and Mathis at approximately 6 p.m. Autographs were signed and photos were taken as the group entered the lobby. At 6:45 p.m. the crowd filled the theatre and the program began.

After welcoming everyone, I turned it over to Bob Collector to introduce all the special people who made the movie possible. He then introduced Jim Keith to say a few words before the showing.

Throughout the movie, the crowd laughed, cheered and even cried. It was well received by all and was finished with a few more words from Jim Keith, who introduced his original players to the crowd for an informal Q and A.

A few more photos, Jim Keith kindly posed with the Webb High School team that was fresh off celebrating their Tennessee State Championship, and then the stars of the night were whisked away to their limo. The celebration continued with an impromptu "after party" at the Marriott.

All in all, the event was a huge success.

“We had a wonderful time while in Knoxville,” Keith said. “I hope to make it back and take another tour of the fabulous (Hall of Fame), I enjoyed that as much as the movie premiere.”

Unfortunately, rumors out of California are that the numbers from the actual release of the movie are not as high as expected. So this is my chance to encourage you all ... if Believe in Me was released in your area, go see it. You will not be disappointed!

I think that wraps up the news from the Hall of Fame for now. Our crew is headed to Cleveland next week to see the final four teams battle for a National Championship! We hope to see you all there!

-Karen Tucker
Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame

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