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, June 11, 2010

Women's Basketball Hall of Fame -- Day I

By Mel Greenberg

It was quite a productive and revenue deducting day for the Guru after arriving here late Thursday morning for this weekend's induction ceremonies at the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame.

The six inductees who will become new classmates of the Guru, circa 2007, are former UConn star Rebecca Lobo, former Maryland coach Chris Weller, former Georgia star and renown Olympian Theresa Edwards, former Lousiana Tech star Teresa Weastherspoon, currently the head coach of her alma mater who, like Lobo, was a prominent member of the WNBA New York Liberty, former Tennessee women's athletic director Gloria Ray who hired some woman named Pat Summitt to be the Vols coach back in the day -- Ray is also the chief executive overseeing the WBHOF, and Texas high school coach Leta Andrews, the winningest coach in the country at her level.

As for the revenue part of the day, the Guru was met at the headquarters hotel at the Marriott next to the hall by William Ewart, affectionally known as Willbill, a long time photographer with the Tennessee women's athletic program, who exclusively handled the Guru's part of his own induction in 2007.

The first order of business was a trip to Litton's for some of the best hamburgers and fries, as in real Boardwalk-style tasting fries. For those of you reading this who are down here but not from the area, head straight out of town toward the hills on Broadway to Fountain City.

Friday afternoon will feature the other culinary must -- Calhoun's -- the famous ribs place located near the hall. Willbill and the Guru will be joined by longtime local beat writer Dan Fleser and his newspaper colleague Phil Kaplan.

As for the revenue reference, Willbill took the Guru, in desperate need of a haircut -- since he's also part of Saturday night's ceremonies as a past inductee -- to place where a sensational job was done for just $10.

Then came a visit to the local Apple Store where the Guru used some of his adios-Inquirer gifts toward the acquisition of an IPad -- 64, 3G -- and while the transaction was made late Thursday afternoon, only a little while ago did the Guru finally get some access to the internet with the device.

Oh yes, as mentioned on the Guru's twitter account, one has to love the pilot on the connecting flight in Charlotte, N.C., who announced on the plane at the gate it would be a short 30 minute ride to Knoxville but didn't add that it would take 40 minutes to get to the end of the runway and the start of the actual 30 minute trip.

On tap on Friday will be a media session at the hall with the inductees at 5 p.m., followed by the unveiling of some new exhibits, a private reception, and then the dreaded (for the inductees) storytelling time.

On Thursday night in the headquarters hotel here at the Marriott next to the Hall, the Guru caught up with Chris Weller and some of her entourage.

The group included former player and assistant coach Belinda (Bo) Pearman.

As we talked old times, former Maryland star and Olympian, as well as WNBA Wasington Mystics player Vicky Bullet arrived.

"No one ever worked any harder than Vicky Bullet," Weller said upon greeting her former player.

Tara Heiss, a WBHOF menber and another former Maryland Olympian, will be here for Weller.

Since no one else is here to give you all the little tidbits, here is what is known about Lobo's delegation.

Huskies coach Geno Auriemma, a wBHOF 2006 inductee, will be here, as will as associate head coach Chris Dailey, former assistant and current Temple coach Tonya Cardoza, basketball operations director Jack Eisemann, and former UConn teammate Kara Wolters.

More details will come with some tweets from the Guru's http://twitter.com/womhoops Guru account -- did I get that right, Erin? -- and later some blogging here.

For the curious, no, there was no known party Thursday night at Summitt's pool house as the one the Guru had her host back in 2007.

The Guru also plans to catch up with his former sports editor Jay Searcy, the original suggestion man for starting the AP women's poll, who is retired down here.

So that is the news of the moment as the sun comes up in Knoxville, a an occurrence that continues in spite of another early exit in the NCAA tournament by the Vols.

-- Later



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