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.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Guru Report On Summitt: Pat Will Be Hard To Pass On AP Poll History Charts

(Guru’s note: A long local, mainly, react story with extra Ivy and Atlantic 10 reaction is below this post. If you are in melgreenberg.com, click mel’s blog to get to the blogspot archives.)

By Mel Greenberg

Several weeks ago in closing the historical database books on another season of Associated Press women’s polls, the Guru gave a sign knowing things would change in the editing process over the summer before next season in terms of coaching changes and conference membership alterations.

But the biggest sigh was reserved knowing that most likely the constant ever since the Guru launched the original rankings would be Tennessee’s Pat Summitt might no longer lead the active list.

Tennessee, as a program, will still continue on the timeline, though Holly Warlick, the Hall of Fame former Lady Vol player, will get credit moving forward with her elevation from associate to head coach in Knoxville.

Still, Summitt, who becomes Head Coach Emeritus, is in what is likely an unbeatable position as the top of the all-time lists in the coaches categories, basically in terms of total appearances.

Consider that there have been 632 polls beginning with the original debut in November 1976. In that time Summitt’s teams have been absent only 14 times.

They missed the first-ever poll and then several seasons down the road, Tennessee experienced a three-week absence. In the mid-1980s during one season, coincidentally as it has occurred for collegiate coaches in charges of Olympians, the Lady Vols vanished for 10 weeks.

That jinx, though, is not expected to happen this winter after Geno Auriemma returns to Connecticut from coaching the Summer Olympics in London.

But the point is that after that Tennessee hiatus of 2 ½ months, the Lady Vols have been in every poll since, season after season. It is rather daunting when compared to the coaches immediately behind Summitt and what they have to do to get near her total.

Though Georgia’s Andy Landers will move to the top of the active list entering at 479, assuming the AP season range continues to be at 19 weeks from preseason to final poll, which could actually be less, the fastest he could catch Summitt on the all-time list would be for the Bulldogs to be in every poll for the next seven years through 2019.

An aside, because Pat does have a sense of humor, her move off the top of the active list means everyone who has ever coached an AP ranked team will move up at least one spot at the start of next season, some a few more because of the exits, for now, of Nell Fortner at Auburn and Gail Goestenkors at Texas, though the return of Charli Turner Thorne to active duty at Arizona State will push some others back.

Meanwhile, Stanford’s Tara VanDerveer, third on the all-time list at 426, would need to appear wire to wire more than then next 10 seasons as would Rutgers’ C. Vivian Stringer, who is at 407.

Connecticut’s Geno Auriemma, who is the next active coach but sixth on the all-time list at 386, would need to go wire-to-wire for more than 12 years beyond 2024.

The Guru has never run the coaching correlation with the elite categories, though certainly the current streak mark could not be broken in most lifetimes of those reading this post right now.

It is noteworthy to say, however, Tennessee dodged a bullet several seasons ago when the Lady Vols who had been sinking for weeks lost for the first time in the first round of the 2009 NCAA tournament.

They did not appear in the final USA Today Poll, but because AP completes its work before Selection Monday, Tennessee held its last position.

Since Tennessee has topped many elite categories, it is easy to see what it would take to overcome the Lady Vols in some of the AP charts.

Now in terms of appearing in the Top 10, since Summitt is responsible for all of it, she has Tennessee’s leading 558 appearances. No. 2 on the list is Louisiana Tech, which is not likely to be in any position to become that great for as long as it takes.

The No. 3 team is Connecticut and Auriemma is responsible for all of the Huskies’ 338 Top 10 appearances. Actually, UConn is 37 spots away from moving into No. 2 ahead of the Techsters, potentially two seasons or a little more away if Auriemma’s wealth of talent stays in the Top 10 the entire time.

But after that, while Connecticut could eventually catch Tennessee, Auriemma would have to stay with the program the next 11 seasons through 2023 and the Huskies would have to stay in the Top 10 the entire time to get there the fastest.

Pretzels here in Philadelphia may stay softer than Auriemma in that length of time.

Moving into Top Five appearances, Tennessee leads at 445, again, all Summitt numbers. Connecticut, a tribute to the rapid growth under Auriemma, is at No. 2 with 294 appearances.

So to pass Summitt in the coaching category of Top 5 appearances, on the fastest route with expectations of 19-week polling seasons, it would take Geno seven seasons plus perhaps a piece of one more, but the Huskies would have to stay in the Top 5 in every week between now and then.

To do that, though not likely to happen, a down-graded schedule may do the trick but that would be like disguising an attempt to tank the season in the WNBA draft to head for next season’s lucractive lotto.

Oh, you say, you think that already happened? Hold that discussion until the summer season approaches.

However, Connecticut at the top in No. 1 appearances leads Tennessee, the runnerup, 156-112. But since that 112 belongs to Summitt, Holly Warlick starts at zeros and to pass UConn the quickest, she would need to hope the Huskies don’t make the top while Tennessee gets to No. 1 and stays there the next eight seasons and perhaps a bit of one more.

Though the Guru ran this list at the close of the season, here is a recap of the top positions near 25 and a few more on the all-time list besides the active list underneath, but remember these charts still have to be edited for coaching changes.

To see who moves out, the Guru will put a special XXXX next to names of people removed on the active list.

By Mel Greenberg
Women’s Hoops Guru
(March 12, 2012)

Quick hits on AP poll (week 19– for coaches’ appearances week No. 19)
(This is 632nd poll after week 19). (Records on pages through week 19 -- Final –3/12/12)

Coaches All Time Ranking Appearances
1. Pat Summitt, Tennessee – 618 (missed just 14 polls in entire AP history)
2. Andy Landers, Georgia – 479
3. Tara VanDerveer (2 schools – Ohio St., Stanford) – 426
4. C. Vivian Stringer (3 schools – Cheyney, Iowa, Rutgers) – 407
5. **-Jody Conradt, Texas – 395
6. Geno Auriemma, Connecticut – 386
7. Jim Foster (3 schools – St. Joseph’s, Vanderbilt, Ohio St.) – 364
8. **-Rene Portland (2 schools – St. Joseph, Penn St.) – 336
9. **-Debbie Ryan, Virginia – 328
10. Sylvia Hatchell, North Carolina – 326
10. **- Kay Yow, North Caro. St. – 326
12. **-Leon Barmore, Louisiana Tech (51-shared with Sonja Hogg) – 325
13. Gail Goestenkors (2 schools – Duke, Texas) – 295
14. **-Joe Ciampi, Auburn – 290
15. **-Sue Gunter (2 schools – Stephen F. Austin, LSU) – 270
16. &&-Joan Bonvicini (2 schools – Long Beach, Arizona) - 267
17. Gary Blair, (3 schools – Stephen F. Austin, Arkansas, Texas A&M) – 265
18. **-Marsha Sharp, Texas Tech – 264
19. **-Van Chancellor (2 schools – Mississippi, LSU) – 261
20. Muffet McGraw, Notre Dame – 235
21. **-Chris Weller, Maryland - 227
22. **-Theresa Grentz (2 schools – Rutgers, Illinois) – 225
23. Sherri Coale, Oklahoma 198
24. Kim Mulkey, Baylor 188
24. **-Marianne Stanley (3 schools – Old Dominion, Southern Cal, Stanford*) – 183
26. **-Paul Sanderford (2 schools – W. Kentucky, Nebraska) – 182
27. **-Marian Washington, Kansas – 176
**-Not in college or not in as a head coach

Active Coaches-All Time AP Ranking Appearances
XXX-1. Pat Summitt, Tennessee – 618 (missed just 14 polls in entire AP history)
2. Andy Landers, Georgia – 479
3. Tara VanDerveer (2 schools – Ohio St., Stanford) – 426
4. C. Vivian Stringer (3 schools – Cheyney, Iowa, Rutgers) – 407
5. Geno Auriemma, Connecticut – 386
6. Jim Foster (3 schools – St. Joseph’s, Vanderbilt, Ohio St.) – 364
7. Sylvia Hatchell, North Carolina – 326
XXX-8. Gail Goestenkors, (2 schools – Duke, Texas) – 295
9.&&--Joan Bonvicini (2 schools – Long Beach, Arizona) - 267
10. Gary Blair, (3 schools – Stephen F. Austin, Arkansas, Texas A&M) – 265
11. Muffet McGraw, Notre Dame – 235
12. Sherri Coale, Oklahoma – 198
13. Kim Mulkey, Baylor – 188
14. Joanne P. McCallie (2 schools - Michigan St., Duke) – 165
15. Melanie Balcomb (2 schools – Xavier, Vanderbilt) – 153
16. Brenda Frese (2 schools, Minnesota, Maryland) – 140
16. Kristy Curry (2 schools – Purdue, Texas Tech) – 136
18. Doug Bruno, DePaul – 135
19. Bill Fennelly, (2 schools – Toledo, Iowa St.) – 131
20. %%- Joe McKeown (2 schools – New Mexico St., George Washington) – 116
21.)))-Chris Gobrecht (Washington) - 104
22.@@@@- Cathy Inglese (2 schools, Vermont, Boston College) – 98
23. !!!- Jane Albright (2 schools – N. Illinois, Wisconsin) – 96
24. Debbie Patterson, Kansas St. – 92
XXX-25. Kurt Budke (2 schools -Louisiana Tech., Oklahoma St.) – 80
26. Pam Borton, Minnesota – 75
Return -- Charli Turner Thorne, Arizona St. – 74 (On sabbatical in 2011-12)
27. Joanne Boyle, California (2 schools – California, Virginia) – 61
28. Tom Collen, (3 schools, Colorado St., Louisville, Arkansas) – 58
29. Sue Semrau, Florida St. – 57
XXX-30. Sharon Fanning-Otis (3 schools – Tenn.-Chattanooga, Kentucky, Miss. St.) – 56
31. ***-Kathy Olivier, UCLA 52
32. ^^^-Kevin McGuff, Xavier – 50
33. Mike Carey, West Virginia – 48
33. Terri Williams-Flournoy, Georgetown – 48
35. Bonnie Henrickson, (2 schools -- Virginia Tech, Kansas) – 45
35. Matthew Mitchell, Kentucky – 45
37. Harry Perretta, Villanova – 44
37. Sharon Versyp, Purdue – 44
37. Jeff Walz, Louisville – 44
40. Suzy Merchant, Michigan St. – 41
41. Connie Yori (Creighton, Nebraska) – 40
42. Jeff Mittie, TCU – 38
43. Agnus Berenato (2 schools – Georgia Tech, Pittsburgh) – 37
44. Matt Bollant, Wis.-Green Bay – 35
44. Lisa Stockton, Tulane – 34
46. $$$- June Daugherty (2 schools – Boise St.,Washington) – 32
47. Dawn Staley (Temple, South Carolina) – 31
XXX-48. Nell Fortner (2 schools – Purdue, Auburn) – 30
49. MaChelle Joseph, Georgia Tech -- 30
49. Katie Meier, Miami –30
&&-Active at Seattle; )))-Active at Yale; $$$-Active at Washington State.; %%-Active at Northwestern; !!!-Active at Nevada; @@@@-Active at Rhode Island; ()()-Active at Michigan; ^^^-Active at Washington; XXX-On sabbatical from Arizona State.

-- Mel


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