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, October 17, 2010

Temple Legendary SID Al Shrier Turns 80

By Mel Greenberg

PHILADELPHIA -
On Friday night longtime Temple sports information director Al Shrier was honored with a roast at the Doubletree Hotel in Center City Philadelphia to mark his 80th birthday.

Shrier, whose is also known for the baggy briefcase he has carried stuffed to the gills over the years, is Temple's longest existing employee even though he actually retired several years ago.

A member of five halls of fames and honored earlier this year by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) with the Arch Ward award, Shrier has received other tributes over the years including the media room which bears his name in the Liacouras Center, which this season will be a regional finals host site for the NCAA Women's Basketball Tournament.

Your Guru is one of the many media types who were educated at Temple's school of journalism and became associated in different ways with Shrier over the years.

Some others are New York Daily News writer Dickie "Hoops" Weiss, who is the men's collegiate basketball guru; longtime Philasdelphia Daily News NBA writer Phil Jasner, whose son Andy has often strings games for The Associated Press; The Inquirer's Joe Juliano, who is on the Penn State football beat among others these days; to name a few.

The Guru has told a tale over the years of evolving from Shrier. As a student worker in South Hall -- if you're not old enough, don't ask -- the Guru had to take Al's press relesases after they came off the mimeograph and stuff them into envelopes which them got mailed to all the media locales except the ones in town which Shrier delivered personally.

Then when the Guru was hired at The Inquirer, one of his first jobs involved pulling out the press releases from Shrier that the Guru had stuffed in his previous
job.

So much for moving up the food train.

Shrier and his wife Ruthie in later years became fans of the women's game and are often on the scene when the Owls are at home either in the Liacouras Center or McGonigle Hall.

On Friday night comedian Bill Cosby, a Temple alum who played football back when the team was -- well you've heard the routine -- anyhow he got things started and then an array of present and former athletic directors, famed Big Five TV broadcaster Al Meltzer as former football coach Wayne Hardin were among the roasters.

Incidentally, Temple's Larry Doughtery is actually the current president of CoSIDA.

The Guru is still doing some transcription and won't be able to offer every word but will have the highlights of a fun night that ended with popular local comedian Joe Conklin, who does voice impersonations, and Shrier's response.

Anyhow the Guru has to jot off the the Women's Big Five annual basketball clinic in a few hours at St. Joseph's, but he'll be back.

-- Mel

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