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.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Grentz Heads Back to Roots

Guru’s Note: To Get to the blog at philly.com covering the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame events in Knoxville involving the Guru as one of six inductees in early June, click here. That site will continue to add info as well as more coverage and pictures as they become available, leading up to the Inquirer-hosted party on Friday, July 27th, at a site to be determined in Philadelphia that's dependent on the growing invite list.

Acacia and Erin of the Guru's blog team have already been signed by several publications to contribute coverage of the Knoxville activities. Erin will also be in town this weekend to compete in some rowing events.

A week ago we took Jonathan along with us to a dinner at the Palm as the guests of New York Daily News men's basketball writing legend Dickie "Hoops" Weiss, a Temple classmate of the Guru back in the day, and Mike Flynn, who runs the Blue Star AAU program out of Philadelphia. Much reminiscing occurred of the early days of the Guru era.

Other than that, stay right here for other women's hoops musings, commentary, stories, and other reasons you all visit.

By Mel Greenberg

PHILADELPHIA _ Since the Guru is the source of several pargaphs in the briefs column of the Inquirer printed sports section in Wednesday's editions involving a prominent graduate of Immaculata College, we proceed a little further here where we have a little more room.

Incidentally, the Guru will be out at the school for Wednesday night's filming of the future Our Lady of Victory picture and also to have lunch Thursday to renew old ties.
At this moment, no one is playing the Guru in the movie, nor is he playing himself unless convinced otherwise as the Guru came on the scene just after the glory days in Chester County.

Former star guard Marianne Stanley, now an assistant coach at Rutgers, will be involved in a walk-on shot, make that a ride-on shot, later this week as a passenger in a school bus. Many former players are also involved in roles as movie "extras."

Theresa Grentz, however, will be doing more than that, beginning in the middle of next month.

The former star center of the Mighty Macs' three-time national champions in the early 1970s is coming home to work with the school's president Sister Patricia Fadden, IHM.

Grentz surprisingly resigned from Illinois in April after 12 seasons in charge of the Illini. Previously she spent 19 seasons in charge at Rutgers, and two previous ones at St. Joseph's in Philadelphia after her graduation.

"It's funny," Grentz said from Illinois earlier this week as she continued preparing for her move back East.

"I never intended to go to Immaculata, initially, because I had a full paid scholarship from Mount St. Mary's," Grentz recalled. "But then we had a fire at our home and I decided to give up the scholarship and play for Cathy Rush.

"Now, I'm at the other end and I'm returning to Immaculata, although I was not thinking about that, initially, after leaving the Illinois job. I had a wonderful offer as a gifts officer at the Newman Club which I almost took,'' Grentz said.

"But I had been back there a year ago to make a speech and one conversation led to another and now here we are."

Immaculata is now co-ed and Grentz did not totally discount the idea of coaching the men's team if the job came open down the road, although she laughed about it.

"You never know," Grentz said.

"But back in the early days I had a passion to get into coaching and now I have a new passion for some of things I will be doing like teaching and speaking. Immaculata is in a tremendously new growth period right now."

Although she experienced roller-coaster seasons in recent times at Illinois, Grentz has always had a talent for raising money back to her days at Rutgers.

"I got all the scholarships here (at Illinois) endowed -- we raised over $4 million," she said.

Grentz has been to some of the filming of Our Lady of Victory, although no one is specifically playing her.

An Immaculata spokeswoman said former coach Cathy Rush is the only person specifically being portrayed, but the players are not all based on fact.

"For example, the center on the team is very good, and one could say `that's Theresa.' But the player has five brothers and that wasn't true of her.''

Grentz said everyone at Illinois has been "super" since her resignation. "They're coming to help at the yard sale. I was able to sell the house quickly."

She also said that the cast of the movie "were all very interested and were asking a lot of questions when I visited. They really want to get it right."

Center stage. That would be former Vanderbilt post player Chantelle Anderson who made her debut in Connecticut last weekend doing television commentary on the San Antonio broadcast of the Silver Stars' victory over the Connecticut Sun.

Anderson was selected second overall by the Sacramento Monarchs in the 2003 draft and later traded to San Antonio before the start of the 2005 season.

Will Sun Days Ever Be the Same? The Connecticut Sun, at the moment, are very much like customers at the slots in the adjoining Mohegan Sun casino parlors in Uncasville.

Suddenly unable to produce jackpot wins in bunches as in the past -- Connecticut fell into a last place tie Tuesday night with Washington in the East after losing to the Mystics -- the inability of New York and Chicago to move forward leaves the Sun still in position to make a jab at a playoff berth.

-- Mel

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