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.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Guru Musings: What Now For Goestenkors And Texas?

(Guru’s Note: WNIT coverage focusing on the Syracuse-Drexel game is on a post below this one. If you are in melgreenberg.com, just click mel’s blog on the left to get to the full blogspot archive. Also, special Guru roundup reporting on the Kingston (RI) overall regional can be found at fullcourt.com.)

By Mel Greenberg

The resignation of Gail Goestenkors from Texas Monday sets up a two-fold process.

One is the future of Goestenkors, who says she is taking a break from basketball, when the time comes when she might be re-invigorated.

The second is what will the Longhorns do in terms of a replacement.

In terms of the Associated Press women’s poll history involving coaching categories, she joins a list of several prominent persons who have had ranked teams but will no longer be active next season as of now.

Goestenkors is 13th on the list with 295 combined appearances at Duke and Texas, but is at least a season or slightly more away from moving up the ranks.

The nearest active coach on the all-time list is Texas A&M’s Gary Blair at 17th but a season and a half away at 265. However, he is close to moving up ahead of Seattle’s Joan Bonvicini and the 267 she compiled at Long Beach State and Arizona, and also the late Sue Gunter, who had 270 appearances at LSU and Stephen F. Austin.

On the active list Goestenkors was eighth but 31 below North Carolina’s Sylvia Hatchell.

The leaders on both lists are Tennessee’s Pat Summit at 618, missing just 14 polls, and Georgia’s Andy Landers at 479.

As for Goestenkors’ future if she decided a year from now to get involved, with the exception that ESPN, given their style of hiring notable coaches for the broadcast booth, might make a move, perhaps she might become involved with USA Basketball, which would then have a permanent coach it could slot in either the No. 1 position or as an assistant on various national teams.

Now, when it comes to building a list of candidates for the Texas vacancy in terms of being it mid-range as opposed to short, former Longhorns star Nell Fortner just became available having left Auburn.

Texas roots can be found at Tennessee, where former longtime assistant Kathy Harston is director of basketball operations, while Kamie Ethridge is associate head coach at Kansas State.

Karen Aston at North Texas was an aide to Jody Conradt and Kim Mulkey and did a nice job at Charlotte in the Atlantic 10 before moving back to the Longhorn State after last season.

In terms of head coaches, looking at the active poll list, and, for now, assuming Texas wants a female, though many males have been hired for other sports in the dept. over the years, Sherri Coale might be possibly lured from Oklahoma while the next name of success that might be approachable is Melanie Balcomb at Vanderbilt.

Brenda Frese sits at Maryland in the same position she sat at Minnesota when the Terrapins went after her and Goestenkors equally sat Duke when Texas came calling.

Perhaps, a move could be made toward Anne Donovan, the Hall of Famer at Seton Hall, who, perhaps could do more with the resources available at Texas compared to those of the Pirates.

Should Baylor win the NCAA and whispers that Brittney Griner might jump a year early to the WNBA since she turns 22 were to become reality, for the right dollars Texas might try to snare Kim Mulkey, though the move may not sit well at AD meetings in the Big 12.

Former Virginia coach Debbie Ryan and former Old Dominion coach Wendy Larry are sitting out there, though it is unknown whether either side of the fence would have interest in the other.

In terms of younger coaches who have had success in conference play, Texas has the resources to lure Princeton’s Courtney Banghart, while St. John’s Kim Barnes Arico could be a nice catch even though both coaches do not have Texas geographical backgrounds.

In terms of other coaches whose teams were in the final rankings, there’s Katie Meier at Miami, and MaChelle Joseph at Georgia Tech.

Should South Carolina upset Stanford in the next round, one wonders whether Dawn Staley might be sought, but consider this a Guru reach at the moment in terms of looking at names.

In the CAA there’s Beth Cunningham at VCU and Krista Kilburn-Stevesky at Hofstra, though again, if the names are compiled, initially it would be for the middle of the list.

Elsewhere in the SEC, there’s also Amanda Butler at Florida.

So much for a starters list. If the Guru hears that male coaches would get a shot, other than the obvious, which won’t happen, he will return to a new list.

Did You Notice?

The Big 10 drew heaps of praise in terms of worthiness from committee chair Greg Christopher in answering the total of seven teams in the original field.

Only two made it to the second round where Purdue was upset on its floor and Penn State remains alive pending Tuesday night’s result at LSU to determine who moves to the Kingston Regional in Rhode Island.

Meanwhile, the revelation that Florida, Michigan, Kansas and Texas were the last four into the field of 64 creates the comeback that Texas and Michigan were first eliminated, while Kansas upset Nebraska and Florida upset Ohio State though the results were 9 seeds over 8 seeds in terms of the surprises.

Connecticut Wipeout

Too bad that the arena in Bridgeport, Conn., was renamed the Webster Bank Arena from Harbor Yard because after UConn’s demolition of Kansas State Monday night, one can envision a slew of fancy headlines reading: Stomp The Yard.

Delle Donne Clinches Scoring Title – It Seems

Elena Delle Donne’s 39-point performance Sunday night propelled her national leading average several percentage points up from 27.5 to 27.9.

That’s a 4.1 lead over her nearest competitors, who were tied for second but have finished their seasons.

A win over Kansas Tuesday night gives her a minimal of two more games while a loss will finalize her result after the stats sheet is fed into the NCAA computer.

If Brittney Griner went on a scoring explosion over the next five games she might catch Delle Donne but she is several spots further behind on the list so it would have to be a change in philosophy for the Baylor star, whose emphasis is on blocking shots.

That’s it for now. Tweeting can be found @womhoopsguru.com.

-- Mel

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