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, June 12, 2011

Guru Report: Quickie Notes Basically On Women's Basketball Hall of Fame

By Mel Greenberg

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. --
Hi all. The Guru will be more extensive after returning to Philadelphia, which is going to be done on the ground Sunday, in terms of Saturday night's ceremonies.

The WNBA roundup will return after Sunday's game between the host Connecticut Sun and Tulsa Shock and include Saturday's action. Game reports are out there.

As for both the introductory and acceptance speeches, the Guru did get all that was said of and by founding WNBA president Val Ackerman, who promised to send a copy and save transcription time, Notre Dame coach Muffet McGraw, and former Maryland star Vicky Bullett.

Ackerman made the best speech the Guru has heard from her in his long association and she showed a display of emotion seldom seen in public. It was the longest of the six but it was anything but boring as she did her thanks and covered much ground.

Incidentally, former Virginia coach Debbie Ryan, who gave Ackerman the first Cavaliers athletic scholarship, made it here.

Former Auburn star Ruthie Bolton, former small college scoring sensation Pearl Moore, and former Wayland Baptist player Lometa Odom, the oldest of the group, all met the task.

McGraw had the largest and liveliest contingent and entertained and was serious. McGraw, who has shed a tear or two after losses early in her coaching career, smiled all the way through her remarks while everyone else was touched in the Bijou Theatre.

St. Joseph's athletic director Don DiJulia and senior women's administrator Ellen Ryan, McGraw's first coach of the Hawks, made it down here Saturday night to join the St. Joseph's starting five who were on the scene Friday obviously counting McGraw.

Incidentally local Tennesseee women's basketball writer Dan Fleser has coverage at the Knoxville News-Sentinel's website.

The Guru also learned travel expenses to the Big East women's tournament will remain basically the same, considering the venue is not going to change, though the official announcement will be made sometime this week.

Joe Ciampi, the former Auburn coach, was here for Ruthie Bolton, who was escorted to the podium at the start of the ceremonies by her sister Mae Olla.

Ackerman's daughters were her escorts while McGraw was escorted by her husband Matt and son Murphy, who just turned 21.

The Guru spent a lot of late night lobby time in the Marriott with different generations of the Redheads, the traveling women's team from 1936-86 (if that is right) and in the social settings of induction weekend, they had more staying power than most of the rest of the crowd here.

McGraw started her speech, saying she was nervous, showed her left hand was steady, but then showed her other hand with a copy of remarks in it, and she shook it, saying, "This is my shooting hand."

The Irish snapped an 0-20 losing streak against Tennessee in the Dayton Regional in March to advance to the Final Four and McGraw noted the win, saying, "You picked the right year to invite me to Tennessee."

Anyhow, that is all for now. Time to get some shuteye before the return journey. The Guru's good friend William Ewart, affectionally known by all here as Willbill, shot photos especially for the Guru and we'll figure out how to get them up there -- perhaps at the Inside Women's Basketball part of the site.

Anyhow, as promised, the Guru will return in the next 24 with more posts.

-- Mel

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