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, April 08, 2011

Guru Report: Cal's Boyle Heading Back East to Virginia and ACC

By Mel Greenberg

And now there are two vacancies in the PAC-10 with a third filled earlier this week when Xavier’s Kevin McGuff was named the new coach at Washington.

Though the Guru, who had been mostly off the grid after returning from Indianapolis, had yet to get his own confirmation of Cal’s Joanne Boyle as the new coach at Virginia, he has faith in the Daily Progress’ reporting in Charlottesville that a deal had been made.

Boyle recently attended the Women's Basketball Coaches Association convention (WBCA) in Indianapolis and received the Carol Eckman Award, named for the late West Chester coach, which is given for exemplifying Eckman's spirit, integrity and character through sportsmanship, along with other qualities. Eckman organized the first women's collegiate championship in suburban Philadelphia in 1969.

John Oliver of Virginia's athletic department, who was in charge of the search for Debbie Ryan's replacement, flew into Indianapolis Sunday morning after UCLA's Nikki Caldwell rebuffed Virginia Saturday night and accepted the vacant position at LSU.

Boyle’s name popped into the rumor mill during the early evening hours of the NCAA women’s basketball tournament championship game Tuesday at Conseco Fieldhouse.

That was shortly followed by Boyle, a former Duke assistant and Richmond head coach, issuing a statement saying, “I am not the Virginia coach.”

That brought a reaction from two writers from the Bay Area in northern California who have covered the Bears and Stanford extensively: “She can say she’s not the Virginia coach because she probably doesn’t have a signed deal yet, which means it could still happen.”

Ironically, several years ago when Dawn Staley, still at Temple, was being touted as the heir apparent whenever Women’s Basketball Hall of Famer Debbie Ryan would leave the Cavaliers, a local veteran reporter in the Tidewater Area noted that perhaps Boyle should be the one targeted by Virginia officials for the future.

Virginia officials did look West when Ryan announced her resignation last month but to Southern California and UCLA’s Caldwell, a former Tennessee star and Cavalier assistant who led the Bruins to a revival back into national prominence.

But Caldwell, who one day might become the next Tennessee coach whenever that becomes a reality, accepted the LSU position for about $900,000 to replace Van Chancellor, who was ousted.

Virginia did have some interest, but perhaps not a large degree, in Georgetown’s Terri Williams-Flournoy, whose star quickly ascended in the tournament with an upset at Maryland in the second round for a second win this season over the Terrapins. The Hoyas next in the Sweet 16 extended Connecticut until the final minutes in the regional semifinals in Philadelphia.

There was a discussion by Virginia with Staley, now at South Carolina. The Cavaliers' all-time women’s star then she announced she was staying with the Gamecocks and Virginia was going in a different direction.

What’s not known precisely is how much an impediment Staley’s large buyout at South Carolina in addition to the Temple buyout being paid down existed to preclude offering Staley at this time.

As it is Boyle is being rumored to being paid $1 million at Virginia, the actual numbers will probably surface in the next several days, which is not outlandish in terms of her current deal at Cal. That was renegotiated several years ago after Duke came calling when Gail Goestenkors departed for Texas.

Boyle’s base is due to become $271,475 next season with the Bears plus an additional $342,768 listed as a talent fee. There are also several other incentives if certain achievements are met, according to a listing at a website of Cal-Berkeley.

As to a replacement for Boyle, one possibility might be Lindsay Gottlieb, a former Brown star who was Boyle’s associate head coach before landing the head-coaching job three seasons ago at UC Santa Barbara.

Gottlieb was also a Boyle assistant at Richmond.

In another touch of irony, Boyle, then at Duke, and McGuff, then an assistant at Notre Dame, were both finalists for the vacant St. Joseph’s job in the spring of 2001 in Philadelphia, which went to former Hawks star Cindy Griffin, who was coaching Loyola of Maryland at the time.

When Caldwell was hired at UCLA, one of the interviewees in 2008 was former Virginia star Kathy McConnell-Miller, a sister of Duquesne coach and former Penn State star Suzie McConnell-Serio.

McConnell-Miller was then coaching Colorado. She decided to stay with the Buffaloes, though it was not known if UCLA had already offered Caldwell the job. She has since departed Colorado but during the Final Four said she’s ready to get back into coaching.

Carousel Spinning In The Atlantic 10

With the surprise announcement by Charlotte’s Karen Aston this week that she was leaving the 49ers to pursue other interests and be closer to her family in Arkansas, there will be at least three new faces on the sidelines in the Atlantic 10 next season.

Aston had previously been an aide at Baylor and Texas and produced one Atlantic 10 title when Charlotte hosted the conference tournament two seasons ago.

In terms of open head coaching positions closest to Arkansas in terms of geography, the nearest slot appears to be the vacancy at North Texas.

Xavier DNA might be involved in two of the vacant positions, including replacing McGuff, who had also been interviewed by Wisconsin officials, on the Muskeeters.

Assistants Mike Neighbors and Amy Waugh could both be strong candidates for either to move up at Xavier and if one gets the promotion the other could be a viable candidate at Charlotte unless one or both follow McGuff to Washington.

Toledo’s Tricia Cullop, who just led the Rockets to the WNIT title over Southern Cal, was a Xavier assistant when Vanderbilt’s Melanie Balcomb coached the Musketeers.

Should Cullop desire to move out of the Mid-American Conference, she has enough familiarity with the A-10 to be a potential candidate at Charlotte or Xavier.

The other change is at Fordham where former St. Joseph’s coach Stephanie Gaitley, who starred at Villanova, is returning to the conference following a stint at Monmouth, which had its best season in a long time.

One place where change is likely not to occur is at Temple where Tonya Cardoza, a former 14-year assistant to Geno Auriemma at Connecticut, has been on wish lists elsewhere after keeping the Owls moving forward the last three seasons after Staley’s departure.

Temple officials had already begun re-working her deal before any of these openings first occurred, though it has been learned in recent seasons that nothing is ever for certain once the carousel starts to spin and someone has the green to make the offer.

Prior to Caldwell’s hire, UCLA had an eye on Staley but the Bruins offer was said to be below what Staley was making at Temple.

However, South Carolina came along later and offered a $150,000 jump to the $500,000 Staley was making at Temple three seasons ago.

Considering the ability in the last three years for Temple to land Cardoza and Cincinnati land Jamelle Elliott off Auriemma’s staff, if the interest is there perhaps Shea Ralph might be a fit at Charlotte.

Ralph, a former UConn star who had been an assistant at Pittsburgh before returning to her alma mater, was a national player of the year honoree out of Fayetteville, N.C.

Other Carousel Spins

Former WNBA assistant Kevin Cook, who made Gallaudet a national power out of Washington, D.C., in Division III this past season, could be a catch for Monmouth if the school looks in his direction.

He served as Chancellor’s assistant on the four WNBA champions with the former Houston Comets and also had been an aide to former Kansas coach Marian Washington, a Women’s Basketball Hall of Famer.

Possibly St. Joseph’s assistant Chris Day may become a candidate there or at several other places.

Maine, which recently fired its former star player Cindy Blodgett, has been a place in the past for up and coming coaches to hone their skills such as Duke’s Joanne P. McCallie, who led Michigan State to the 2005 NCAA runner up slot after leaving Orono.

One assistant out there who might be a viable candidate somewhere is Patty Coyle, the former WNBA New York Liberty head coach who is currently with Agnus Berenato at Pittsburgh.

That’s it for the moment. There are musings off the finals to be made but the Guru will hold this post to a single topic.

-- Mel


Blogger Scamp said...

I'm appalled at the careless way some institutions of high learning deal with coaching changes. Leaks to local TV stations, rumors on Twitter, etc. Have a little respect, ADs, please!

2:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree. This whole thing wasn't a carousel, it was a circus. Hopefully lessons how NOT to conduct a coaching search/hire were learned. Pathetic.

6:36 PM  

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