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.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Stanley Acceptance Speech for Philly Sports Hall of Fame

(Guru's note: Here's a catch-up promise from several weeks ago, The following is a transcription of #WNBA Washington Mystics assistant coach Marianne Stanley's acceptance speech into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame on Nov. 11th. Some parts were a little inaudible on the digital recorder and will be noted)

Karen told me 2-4 minutes. And I promise you I’ll try to be brief.

But there’s no way I just flew nine hours (laughter) to talk for two minutes.

I apologize right off if I forget somebody.

First of all I congratulate everybody on this stage. It is really an hour to be included in this induction class with each and every one of you. (applause).

Formal speech:

Competing in sports is about going to war. When you want to be a champion, when you want to be the best, it’s like going to battle and who you choose to have with you in your foxhole makes all the difference in the world.

I’m sitting next to a guy who is probably one of the most respected basketball coaches ever to grace the sidelines (Jim Phelan).

Jimmy Phelan and I were inducted into the Delaware County Sports Hall of Fame. So this in number two. We have enough legs in us or tread to do it a third time somewhere.

And who wouldn’t want Bobby Jones, OK?, in your foxhole (applause). The quintessential (inaudible).

I grew up watching these guys. I’m going to echo (inaudible).

He’s just a Philly guy. I happen to be here tonight because I’m just a Philly girl. (applause).

Excuse me. It’s about 3:30 (a.m.) in Madrid (laughter) and got here 3:30 this afternoon. So I’m running out of gas a little bit. So bear with me.
I have the privilege and the joy of doing something every day I love to do. I played basketball because I loved it. I coach it because I love it.

And who can look bad when you’re coaching people like Anne Donovan and Medina Dixon and Tracy Claxton at Old Dominion.

Lisa Leslie at USC. Now I just work (overseas) with some schleps like Cappie Pondexter and Candice Parker (laughter).

I mean it’s not lost on me how lucky and how fortunate I’ve been to grow up in the city that is considered the cradle of coaches.

That has just a rich tradition of basketball. I mean the people in this room – Fran Dunphy, John Chaney, Phil Martelli. I mean on, and on, and on. These are people that I admired and I know your history and followed you and to be included as a player and coach alongside such great athletes and coaches.

But in my foxhole, the most important people are my family, my friends, my high school (Archbishop Predengast) teammates and coach, my college teammates and coach, and all the players and staff people who have worked with me as a coach and helped me to do what I love to do.

I’m really fortunate tonight to have some of my former teammates here, OK.

I went to Archbishop Prendergast High School (applause). (Asks teammates to stand). There we go. Come on Theresa.

These weren’t just good teammates. They were great teammates. And you know what? We had one of the best coaches in all of the Delaware Valley in Barbara Mooney. And Barbara Mooney is here tonight. (applause and she stands).

I know this is hard to do but Barbara Mooney taught me value and self-discipline and to this day it’s something that’s important in my coaching, so thank you so very much.

Unfortunately Cathy Rush couldn’t be here today. But no one’s been more influential in my career than Cathy. It was a privilege playing for her at Immaculata College and I had a great experience there and some of my former teammates from Immaclata are here as well.

Denise Conway. Theresa Grentz is also an inductee. Denise the smartest thing you ever did was marry my brother. (laughter and applause.).

Like I said, the most important people in my foxhole are my family – my parents who have passed on would love tonight. My mom was a great Phillies fan. My dad loved the Eagles – you know die hard Phillies fans all the way.

I know they would have loved this and they are smiling up in heaven right now. But the guy who got me started in basketball when I was six was my uncle Jack – my father’s twin brother. Uncle Jack and my aunt Cass are here tonight (loud applause).

I never told them this but I have to share this now – it would be fun.

I was so little at (age) six that I couldn’t reach the basket except by shooting underhanded. OK. So he taught me how to shoot free throws underhanded and later on in life when I had a chance to meet Rick Barry, a Hall of Fame who actually shot the thing from the foul line like that, we reminisced and talked about that story and just loved it.

Thank you for getting me started on a love affair that’s lasted – I’m 56 – 50 years now.

Finally the rest of my family – I have six brothers and sisters – four of them are here tonight – Jim, Richard, Paul and Midge and I love you.

Thank you for your support and helping me to meet every challenge that came my way.

Finally, I wouldn’t be here today without the support and love of my partner for 25 years – Barbara Thaxton. She’s been by my side as a coach, a friend, and any success that I had in the last 25 years she’s shared with me.

I want to thank everybody.

Ending applause.

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