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.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Guru Report: Staley Extended At South Carolina

(Guru's note: Although the Guru had intended to do this in reverse order, it didn't post that way, soooo, the post under this carries the winners in the Big 5 announced Friday, though the banquet will be Tuesday night at Drexelbrook. If you're in melgreenberg.com just click the mel's blog panel on the left to get to the Big 5 item under this post in blogspot. Also, since it is now Saturday, those of you who follow or keep track of the Guru's biography as of 12:15 p.m. you need to increase the age digit by one -- a counting that began in 1947.)

By Mel Greenberg

Though the email from South Carolina's athletic department arrived hours ago, since the Guru doesn't see it anywhere in the obvious places, for the record, the Gamecocks have extended Dawn Staley's contract through three seasons to 2015-16 along with amending the contract of football coach Steve Spurrier.

The contracts were approved Friday at a meeting of the executive committee of the board of trustees at South Carolina.

Spurriers' financial base was listed but no figures were given for Staley in the release.

At the time of Staley's hire away in May 2008 from Temple multiple sources said her new salary at South Carolina would be $650,000. Considering the progress the Gamecocks could continue to make it's possible that the former three-time Olympic gold medalists and WNBA All-Star could approach the $1 million plateau at the end of her new deal.

Ironically, the extension of the original four-year deal that would expire at the end of next season comes several weeks after Staley was involved in brief talks with officials at Virginia, her alma mater, about the vacancy in the wake of longtime coach and Women's Basketball Hall of Famer Debbie Ryan's departure.

Staley, who is involved with multiple buyouts via the South Carolina contract and conclusion of the exit money involving leaving Temple, then announced that she was staying with the Gamecocks and that Virginia was going off in a different direction.

The compass needle pointed West but it took two shots after UCLA's Nikki Caldwell spurned the Cavaliers and accepted an offer at LSU. Soon thereafter Joanne Boyle of California emerged as the new frontrunner and was formally introduced at Virginia on Monday, the same day as the WNBA draft.

With the annual spring high school tournaments occurring this weekend at Boo Williams' operation in Hampton, Va., and several other places and the number of college coaches who will be scouting future talent, rumors should intensify over the primary vacancies at California, UCLA, Xavier and Charlotte.

Incidentally, the addition of former Vanderbilt star Chantelle Anderson being hired as an assistant at Virginia Tech carries the item that she had been assistant coach this past season at Division II Palm Beach Atlantic in Miami.

The head coach over Anderson in Florida in her first season was and is Clarisse Garcia, a 2007 graduate of Harry Perretta's Villanova Wildcats who last year was an aide at Stetson and before that was on the staff of Ferne Labati, the former Miami coach, at Seton Hill near Pittsburgh.

Immaculata Movie

The Guru has been wanting to mention this that the recent red carpet debut at the Franklin Institute of The Mighty Macs, the long-awaited film about Immaculata's first national title under Hall of Famer Cathy Rush was basically a fundraiser targeted mostly inhouse to the Immaculata community.

So said people with the PR firm for the film who had a booth set up at the Women's Basketball Coaches Association convention at the Women's Final Four in Indianapolis.

The public rollout is expected this fall around the time of midnight madness in October when practice begins for next season at schools across the country.

Of course under the new rule that went into effect last season some schools will start as early as mid-September.

Come to think of it, someone should check to see how many schools in the NCAA field took advantage of the early start time that was allowed.

That's it for now. A note that with downtime between the end of the collegiate season and start of the WNBA with exhibitions in mid-May postings here may become staggered per the way the news flows. So make sure to check with twitter at @womhoopsguru which always notes a new post or attempts to flash news as it warrants.

Though as noted in the post above this one that all the Big 5 women's award winners were announced Friday ahead of Tuesday night's annual banquet, the Guru will report on acceptance speeches, such as they are, and anything else pertinent.

-- Mel

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