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, December 24, 2010

New Guru Home Launched For The Holidays !

By Mel Greenberg

PHILADELPHIA --
Seasons greetings everyone.

I hope you all get to enjoy the next several days with family, etc.

Yours truly will continue the recent tradition of visiting Drexel men’s coach Bruiser Flint and family on Christmas Day.

Anyhow, many of you have heard from Kelly Kline of the internet magazine Inside Women’s Basketball about the new association with the Guru and vice versa. So I thought I’d take advantage of the down time, news of Diana Taurasi’s situation notwithstanding, to give you the Guru’s side of how things have evolved and also probably answer some questions you might have.

I first met Kelly several years ago at the Women’s Final Four in St. Louis. There’s no question her passion for the sport is the equal of those of us who have been around from way back or those who are slightly younger.

Of course, it doesn’t hurt to have played the game as in Kelly’s case.

This meeting occurred at a time where it was pretty obvious about the way print media were diminishing coverage due to the economy and staff shortages.

Although the Guru was still at the place of his employment at that moment, a sizeable number of colleagues elsewhere were leaving with exit papers either through retirement options or buyout situations.

In fact, when the Guru looked at what he called the “real list” of print representatives at the Final Four who were not associated with host city or competing teams, the diminished roll call count was shocking.

Some regulars were still on the scene though they came on their own whether still employed or off the ship.

Most of the ones departing checked in with the Guru on the way out the door saying to keep in touch, and they still would like to find a way to continue in some capacity the coverage in which they excelled.

Some of them have landed elsewhere with new entities and in some cases are doing dual work in maintain their own personal blogs. Michelle Smith, the former Stanford beat writer, is at AOL Fanhouse, as is Milton Kent, who covered the Washington Mystics and University of Maryland primarily in his locale.

Mechelle Voepel left the Kansas City Star but has become bigger than life at ESPN.com and virtually all the associated parts of the mega sports network.

Wendy Parker has her own blog, actually several the Guru thinks, since leaving the Atlanta Constitution.

Vicki Friedman is still at the Virginia Pilot in Norfolk but off the Old Dominion beat. She does however collaborate to produce Lady Swish on the internet focusing on women’s hoops at Virginia schools.

Aditi Kinkhabwala, the Rutgers beat writer at the Bergen Record, had her career hit a sudden stop though she has since found work as the New York Giants beat writer with the new Wall Street Journal sports initiative.

Mike Potter, who covered the triangle trifecta of Duke, North Carolina and North Carolina State departed the Durham Herald but has managed to find some internet publications.

Dick Patrick, the national women’s writer for USA Today, was a layoff victim a year ago and is since doing other things to help support his family, though the Guru is exploring ways to get him back in the fold.

Also, considering the situation at that moment with The Philadelphia Inquirer’s bankruptcy deal – the paper has recently emerged under a new owner again – the Guru knew it was a matter of time before he would have to make a decision.
He was gratified during the thought processes but also humored at comments on message boards that in observing news of someone leaving there would be a little aside “At least the Guru or Mel Greenberg is still at The Inquirer.”

The preceding just now have updated you with the behind the scenes swirl to set the background for you.

Meanwhile, the Guru was already working on a vision on how to replace what used to be the norm for the sport in daily print publications. He had the concept elements but had to find someone to develop the blueprint or help execute it.

Well, to continue, after meeting Kelly the Guru took a look at her site and was immediately impressed. Surely, she had the mold in her quarterly effort in the shape of the Guru’s concept.

The only thing now -- and they're working on it -- is finding a way to bring those videos into iPad viewing technology -- go figure that Apple would come up with a better way to stay off computers and peruse the internet.

One Year Later

Anyhow, by the time mid-January of last season approached, it was pretty obvious that if the financial numbers were right the Guru was going to have to use the retirement mechanism though he has tried to make it clear he was not leaving to mow lawns.

Everything would continue to go forward that was financially feasible. In fact, due to shortages, the Guru has been making guest star appearances in The Inquirer defacto replacing himself and having to answer the question from some “I thought you retired.”

The Guru announced the move while on the way to San Antonio for the Final Four and while on the scene numerous coaches (those with a business acumen) suggested he should try to purchase the domain melgreenberg.com.

He was able to do so, the price was relatively cheap, but it stayed in storage while returned to the original blogspot.com address to quickly go into WNBA coverage for the summer. The address was the first platform he used when the paper began experimenting with the blogosphere in the spring of 2005.

Then last September when the Guru visited Atlanta, Kelly’s headquarters city in recent seasons, for Game 3 of the WNBA Finals, he began telling her old war stories about Seattle coach Brian Agler and the victory party after the Columbus Quest won the first of the two titles in the former American Basketball League in 1997.

(There’s no deep secrets. The Guru wrote of that party back in September.)

But during the conversation, Kelly said perhaps we could help each other and she’d be in touch. And here we are.

The Mechanics

So here is what you need to know. From a standpoint of helping to make an impression on traffic numbers, the Guru suggests the following options in rank order but that action is in your control.

1. Go to insidewomensbasketball.com and then you can click on the Guru blog tab.

2. If you’ve seen everything there is to see previously from the issue, you can also bookmark direct to melgreenberg.com.

3. The Guru will still post in womhoops.blogspot.com but the most recent post will appear as the story of the day on melgreenberg.com. If he writes several he will call your attention to each as he did Sunday with two stories to set up the Connecticut-Ohio State game.

In melgreenberg.com you have three ways to get to blogspot to read the archives and other posts of the day – click on either the headline of the main story, click “mel’s blog,“ or click the blog option in headlines.

Now the plan is to grow this whole entity that will approach the original Guru vision from the blog side.

Kelly’s expertise in this area was part of the attraction for the Guru to join forces.

Some things on the planning table are a new and different kind of poll by mid-January if not sooner, possibly some player or team of the week awards. The Guru, of course, will continue to devote a large portion of the blog to his local Division I nine and will try to augment the other classifications.

The Guru would like to get his friends in CoSIDA involved to post daily transactions and is exploring one of several ways to get it done. Feel free to email the Guru your interest.

Since photos and videography are Kelly’s specialty we’re trying to figure the most efficient way to send photos since, if you noticed in this blog and others, the Guru often goes long, creating space on the side, which can be filled with photos.

Perhaps a weekly gallery will be developed and this is open to all schools to submit photos. Feel free to email suggestions and the Guru will use his SID contacts list to work with you so the as not to bore the general fan base with procedural stuff.

The Guru and Kelly when she can will tweet from @womhoopsguru to alert when something new has been added. Twitter postings are also on the home page of melgreenberg.com so if you want to follow wen he might tweet live from a game, that is another option for you.

Perhaps we can do a “this day in history” and, yes, as soon as we can figure it out, the AP poll historical database will be inserted and you won’t need the Guru to trot out all the data quasi-manually as he did recently to celebrate week No. 600.

The Guru’s Other Activities

First, as coverage warrants or budget allows (theirs), the Guru will continue to make guest star appearances in his former paper and when that is happening he will notify you to go to philly.com to find the stories although when needed, other aspects of the event will appear here or the Guru will designate his own guest stars and staff to write in his place.

The Guru did mentioned to the paper that there is, ahem, a regional final at Temple in Philadelphia.

There are discussions looming with another entity or two that may develop into something but it will be different than what you read here and most likely won’t supersede it.

But understand, this is the Guru’s home base and it is here at Insidewomensbasketball.com and melgreenberg.com that we will move into a new future that way we launched into what became today’s world pre-internet back in the 1970s.

OK, the Guru apologizes for going long but other than Diana’s testing controversy or lack thereof, what else was there for you to read today.

Again, Happy Holidays everyone.

See you here after the weekend.

-- Mel

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