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, October 30, 2011

Guru's College Report: Tennessee and Summitt Reach AP Poll Milestone

(Guru's note: The Guru has some catching up to do which will come in the next post late Sunday night covering La Salle coach Jeff Williams and Lincoln U. Athletics Director Dianthia Ford-Kee's Legends Awards Presentation Friday by the Black Women In Sport Foundation, among other items. But for now, here is more notes from the AP preseason women's poll kicking off the 36th season of the rankings.)

By Mel Greenberg

Though they have yet to play a game in the new 2011-12 season under their longtime Hall of Fame coach, the Tennessee Lady Vols and Pat Summitt hit an Associated Press milestone Saturday with the release of the preseason poll, making it the 600th time they have appeared in the rankings that began with the 1976-77 season.

Tennessee was not in that preseason vote, the only time Summitt's group has not been in the annual launching ballot, but they have rarely missed since. This is the 614th vote and the Lady Vols have missed just 14 times counting that first omission.

This also marks the 355th straight appearance dating back to the mid-1980s when Tennessee came off a 10-week no-show drought.

Second best is Connecticut on current steaks at 335, followed by Duke at 226, Stanford at 190, Baylor at 145, and Notre Dame at 78.

Baylor, as poll moderator Doug Feinberg, the AP's national women's basketball writer noted, is No. 1 for the first time in the preseason vote. Last season during a brief stay at the top of another season dominated by Connecticut in the voting the Bears' rise to No. 1 made Kim Mulkey the first person to play on and coach an AP team ranked No. 1.

On the court, she was with Louisiana Tech in the early 1980s.

Teams missing from the final poll of 20111-12 were Xavier, which had made 46th straight appearances, Michigan State, Wisconsin-Green Bay, Marquette, Marist, Gonzaga, Georgia Tech, and Ohio State.

As for replacements, Penn State is back after a brief stay the last two seasons, starting at No. 12 in the heels of a preseason pick as the choice of media and coaches to win the Big Ten conference. Rutgers returns for the first time since a No. 25 in the preseason poll of 2009-10 at No. 25.

Georgia's return marks the 461st appearance for Women's Basketball Hall of Fame coach Andy Landers, all with the Lady Bulldogs for second place behind Summitt.

Southern Cal, which gives coach Michael Cooper his first poll appearance, is back for the first tiem since Nov. 13, 2006, the second poll of that season. Purdue also broke a long absence having returned for the first time since Dec. 8, 2008.

Nikki Caldwell joined the two-timers club with the return of her new team LSU to the poll after having led UCLA back to the rankings.

The Bruins are still there but Cori Close, who succeeded Caldwell, has a distinction, though she has yet to get her first "W", in that she is now the 31st coach to play for and coach AP ranked teams. Close was captain during UC Santa Barbara's brief one-week appearance near the end of 1992-93 when she was a captain. Several years later the former Big West champions did become a staple in the weekly appearances for a while.

For the moment, Connecticut has been dislodged from its recent domination and the No. 4 is the lowest preseason vote since a No. 8 at the start of the 2007-07 season. The No. 4 also matches the lowest vote since the final poll of the 2007 season, which was also a No. 4.

There is a milestone ahead for the Huskies if they can win their early games because their 276 appearances in the Top 5 is only three short of Louisiana Tech for second place behind Tennessee.

Rutgers return has Hall of Fame coach C. Vivian Stringer closing in on third place on the all-time list of AP appearances with 389, which is just behind retired Texas Hall of Fame coach Jody Conradt at 395. She is fourth on the active list behind Stanford's Tara VanDerveer at 408.

Stringer is one of a handful of coaches with three different teams in the AP poll, having previously led Cheyney and Iowa to the rankings, while VanDerveer's overall total also includes an earlier stint at Ohio State.

Incidentally, since the Guru from time to time hears questions about coaches who have yet to achieve the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame induction, off the all-time list and also in terms of eligibility here are those in the top 25 yet to be honored: No. 7 Jim Foster, who led St. Joseph's, Vanderbilt and Ohio State into the poll; 8 Rene Portland, who led St. Joseph's and Penn State, and though she had just left Colorado, the Buffaloes' roster of players earned a ranking the following season after her departure.

That's similar to Nikki Caldwell, who takes over at LSU, but her former UCLA roster is also in the poll.

Also yet to make induction, though eligible, is No. 14 Gail Goestenkors, off Duke and Texas, and Joan Bonvicini, currently at Seattle but has coached Long Beach and Arizona to AP status. Sherri Coale at Oklahoma is No. 19 but she may not been coaching long enough yet to earn eligibility.

To close out this post, here is the all-time and active lists of coaching appearances reprinted from the Guru's ongoing compilations.


By Mel Greenberg
Women’s Hoops Guru
(Oct. 29, 2011)


Updated file thru the preseason 2011-12 season Poll. This update since close of business for 2010-11 accounts for coaching changes in Division I since end of the season.

All-time list of upper-ranked coaches remains the same other than footnoting those who are now at universities beyond those they guided to rankings and those not in collegiate competition because of moves to the WNBA, non-head coaching or their passing.

Teams in parentheses means coaches had ranked teams at all those schools with the last one being the current location or the last location when ranked and a footnote as to where they are now.

Those out of collegiate coaching are removed from the active list but if they return in the future, as was the case when Van Chancellor came back from the WNBA to LSU, for example, they will be re-inserted with their totals in place from where they existed.

Quick hits on AP poll (week 1 – for coaches’ appearances week No. 1 – Preseason )
(This is 614th poll after week 1). (Records on pages through week 1 -- Preseason, 10/29/11)

Coaches With Three Ranked Teams
C. Vivian Stringer (Cheyney-85), (Iowa-155), (Rutgers-149), 389
Jim Foster (St. Joe-35), (Vanderbilt-164), (Ohio St.-147), 346
Gary Blair (Stephen F. Austin-79), (Arkansas-67), (Texas A&M-101), 247
Marianne Stanley (Old Dominion-141), (Southern Cal-24), (Stanford*-18), 183
Lin Dunn (Miami-2), (Mississippi-1), (Purdue-130), 133
Don Perrelli (Northwestern-52), (S. Conn.-20), (St. John’s-1), 73
Tom Collen (Colorado St.-34), (Louisville-17), (Arkansas-7), 58
Sharon Fanning-Otis (Kentucky-4), (Miss. St.-48), (Tenn.-Chattannoga-4), 56
Debbie Yow (Florida-2), (Kentucky-21), (Oral Roberts-1), 24

Co-Coaches
Kittie Blakemore, Scott Harrelson – West Virginia 8
Sonja Hogg, Leon Barmore – Louisiana Tech 51
Jill Hutchison, Linda Fischer – Illinois St. 3
Jim Jarrett, Joyce Patterson – Georgia St. 1
Marianne Stanley, Amy Tucker – Stanford 18
Jim Bolla, Sheila Strike – UNLV 18

Coaches All Time Ranking Appearances
1. Pat Summitt, Tennessee – 600 (missed just 14 polls in entire AP history)
2. Andy Landers, Georgia – 461
3. Tara VanDerveer (2 schools – Ohio St., Stanford) – 408
4. **-Jody Conradt, Texas – 395
5. C. Vivian Stringer (3 schools – Cheyney, Iowa, Rutgers) – 389
6. Geno Auriemma, Connecticut – 368
7. Jim Foster (3 schools – St. Joseph’s, Vanderbilt, Ohio St.) – 346
8. **-Rene Portland (2 schools – St. Joseph, Penn St.) – 336
9. **-Debbie Ryan, Virginia – 328
10. **- Kay Yow, North Caro. St. – 326
11. **-Leon Barmore, Louisiana Tech (51-shared with Sonja Hogg) – 325
12. Sylvia Hatchell, North Carolina – 313
13. **-Joe Ciampi, Auburn – 290
14. Gail Goestenkors (2 schools – Duke, Texas) – 288
15. **-Sue Gunter (2 schools – Stephen F. Austin, LSU) – 270
16. &&-Joan Bonvicini (2 schools – Long Beach, Arizona) - 267
17. **-Marsha Sharp, Texas Tech – 264
18. **-Van Chancellor (2 schools – Mississippi, LSU) – 261
19. Gary Blair, (3 schools – Stephen F. Austin, Arkansas, Texas A&M) – 247
20. **-Chris Weller, Maryland - 227
21. **-Theresa Grentz (2 schools – Rutgers, Illinois) – 225
22. Muffet McGraw, Notre Dame - 217
23. Sherri Coale, Oklahoma 194
24. **-Marianne Stanley (3 schools – ODU, Southern Cal, Stanford*) – 183
25. **-Paul Sanderford (2 schools – W. Kentucky, Nebraska) – 182
26. **-Marian Washington, Kansas – 176
**-Not in college or not in as a head coach

Active Coaches-All Time AP Ranking Appearances
1. Pat Summitt, Tennessee – 600 (missed just 14 polls in entire AP history)
2. Andy Landers, Georgia – 461
3. Tara VanDerveer (2 schools – Ohio St., Stanford) – 408
4. C. Vivian Stringer (3 schools – Cheyney, Iowa, Rutgers) – 389
5. Geno Auriemma, Connecticut – 368
6. Jim Foster (3 schools – St. Joseph’s, Vanderbilt, Ohio St.) – 346
7. Sylvia Hatchell, North Carolina – 313
8. Gail Goestenkors, (2 schools – Duke, Texas) – 288
9.&&--Joan Bonvicini (2 schools – Long Beach, Arizona) - 267
10. Gary Blair, (3 schools – Stephen F. Austin, Arkansas, Texas A&M) – 247
11. Muffet McGraw, Notre Dame – 217
12. Sherri Coale, Oklahoma – 194
13. Kim Mulkey, Baylor – 170
14. Joanne P. McCallie (2 schools - Michigan St., Duke) – 148
15. Melanie Balcomb (2 schools – Xavier, Vanderbilt) – 145
16. Bill Fennelly, (2 schools – Toledo, Iowa St.) – 131
17. Kristy Curry (2 schools – Purdue, Texas Tech) – 124
18. Doug Bruno, DePaul – 122
18. Brenda Frese (2 schools, Minnesota, Maryland) – 122
20. %%- Joe McKeown (2 schools – New Mexico St., George Washington) – 116
21.)))-Chris Gobrecht (Washington) - 104
22.@@@@- Cathy Inglese (2 school, Vermont, Boston College) – 98
23. !!!- Jane Albright (2 schools – N. Illinois, Wisconsin) – 96
24. Debbie Patterson, Kansas St. – 91
25. Kurt Budke (2 schools -Louisiana Tech., Oklahoma St.) – 80
26. Pam Borton, Minnesota – 75
XX. Charli Turner Thorne, Arizona St. – 74 (On sabbatical in 2011-12)
27. ###-Joanne Boyle, California – 60
28. Tom Collen, (3 schools, Colorado St., Louisville, Arkansas) – 58
29. Sharon Fanning-Otis (3 schools: UT-Chatt., Kentucky, Miss. St.) – 56
29. Sue Semrau, Florida St. – 56
31. ***-Kathy Olivier, UCLA 52
32. ^^^-Kevin McGuff, Xavier – 50
33. Mike Carey, West Virginia – 47
34. Bonnie Henrickson, (2 schools -- Virginia Tech, Kansas) – 45
35. Harry Perretta, Villanova – 44
36. Suzy Merchant, Michigan St. – 41
37. Jeff Mittie, TCU – 38
38. Agnus Berenato (2 schools – Georgia Tech, Pittsburgh) – 37
39. Lisa Stockton, Tulane – 34
40. $$$- June Daugherty (2 schools – Boise St.,Washington) – 32
41. Nell Fortner (2 schools – Purdue, Auburn) - 30
41. Terri Williams-Flournoy, Georgetown – 30
43. Lisa Bluder (Drake, Iowa) – 28
44. () - Dawn Staley (Temple) – 26
44. Connie Yori (Creighton, Nebraska) – 26
44. Sharon Versyp, Purdue – 26
44. Jeff Walz, Louisville – 26
48. MaChelle Joseph, Georgia Tech – 23
48. Robin Selvig, Montana – 23
50. ///-Nikki Caldwell (UCLA, LSU) - 22

&&-Active at Seattle; )))-Active at Yale; $$$-Active at Washington State.; %%-Active at Northwestern; () - Active at South Carolina; !!!-Active at Nevada; @@@@-Active at Rhode Island; ()()-Active at Michigan; ###-Active at Virginia; ^^^-Active at Washington; ///-Active at LSU.

-- Mel

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