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, November 08, 2012

Guru Unites With Philahoops to Create PhilahoopsW -- A New Internet Home For Local Division I Women's Basketball

By Mel Greenberg

PHILADELPHIA -- The Guru brand, on the eve of another college basketball season, is pleased to present a re-organization and exciting new initiative as he joins forces locally with Philahoops to become a companion PhilahoopsW, emphasizing internet coverage of area Division I women's basketball.

The gateway to the front door of the site is http://philahoopsw.com.

There will be the same alternating terminology in terms of schools that the guys on the other side of the operation focus -- the Philly Six, which means Drexel and the Big Five, with of course Big Five notations when needed out of the local rivalries.

But the Guru's reach will also include the two powerful state university women's programs that have always had a large following here in Rutgers up in central New Jersey and Penn State.

Finally, the mix also includes Delaware just to the south where the Blue Hens have become a nationally-ranked program headlined by senior Elena Delle Donne, likely to become one of the top three picks in next April's WNBA draft.

Before continuing, you should know that those of you come here to the blog from across the country to also look at the Guru's national and WNBA coverage, for now you can keep coming back to this site.

That also goes for enhanced coverage of women's events and awards under the umbrella of the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA).

But from time to time some of the Guru's national coverage will slide to PhilahoopsW when there is a reason, locally, to do so. There will always be a mention in this blog when that happens.

The Guru first met Aaron Bracy back in 1997 when he was a student at Saint Joseph's University working on the school paper in sports among his other activities..

He went on to write for papers up in Trenton and also work for the Associated Press, which has sent him to cover women's games here when either local teams became nationally ranked in the AP poll or played opponents who came to town with national rankings.

He even did a little ABL coverage during the Rage's brief existence.
In recent years he has gone into teaching.

But Aaron has had that same passion for local hoops as had the Guru dating to his days as the men's basketball manager for the Temple team that went on to win the NIT. That was when the tournament in Madison Square Garden was virtually a big a deal as the NCAA tournament, which then only consisted of 16 teams.

In recent seasons as Aaron channeled his passion into developing Philahoops, and he and the Guru would cross paths, and he would say "we should think about joining forces."

The Guru kept the offer in his back pocket, knowing we would continue to see each other because of both of us freelance hoops coverage for the Guru's work alma mater The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Meanwhile, by last season, Philahoops got to be a pretty robust site offering quite an extension of coverage to the local papers, which have lost significant staff in downsizing because of the economy.

Besides game coverage, there's photos, columns, video, chats, a vast social media approach through twitter and facebook.

Heck, Aaron even managed to lure longtime local AP writer and Big Five Hall of Famer Jackie Scheuer to become a columnist drawing on his involvement in decades of local men's reporting.

Aaron also found a computer wonk in La Salle grad Joe Fedorowicz to bring his vision on the men's side to life on the internet.

And so it was that several weeks ago, the Guru, in thinking of how to do likewise in bringing more to the local women's games, sent Aaron a note, basically saying, "OK, ready to give it a shot."

Both Aaron and Joe wasted little time in moving forward and over the last several weeks the Guru offered his national and local friends, writing colleagues, coaches, and sports information directors a peek at the work in progress and responses were overwhelming with excitment.

Joe, incidentally, is a former track star and his sister Allie, who starred at Cornell and St. Basil in the Philadelphia suburbs, is the basketball operations director for the Delaware women. They are the nephew and niece of Boston U. coach Kelly Greenberg, the former La Salle star and Penn coach.

So while over the years the Guru has said he is not related to Kelly, he can now add, but he is doing plenty of relating to Joe and Allie these days.

Meanwhile, looking at some early plans, Hall of Famer Theresa Grentz, the former Immaculata great who has coached Saint Joseph's, Rutgers and Illinois, and is now in the area running her own company, accepted an invite to do columns from time to time.

Likewise, former Saint Joseph's star Debbie Black, now an assistant to her former coach Jim Foster at Ohio State and who was inducted into the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame Thursday night.

Leigh Torbin, a former Sports Information director at UConn who now lives in Florida, offered to help from afar and there are special tricks he can do with stats. Mike Siroky, the orginal beat writer for the Tennessee women who has been living near Notre Dame says he can add features from afar.

Air Bluestein, who does Drexel women's games on the radio, will be Dragons specific as one of a staff the Guru hopes to recruit to stay on top of each team while the Guru makes his national/local rounds.

Each team gets its own page and it is a compliment to Joe and Aaron they had no problem in creating a product on the women's side that include three more teams than the main attractions at Philahoops.

A young lady, Maya Goldberg-Safir, a senior at Middlebury College in Vermont who is from Oakland, Calif., had previously sent the Guru a note wanting to get involved in USBWA women's activities, saying she regained her passion for the women's game after watching the Olympics over the summer.

The wonders of technology will also allow her to get involved locally from afar.
The original blogerettes are all doing well and kudos to Jonathan who just rolled out a whole new Philly.com look for the site that finally makes it seem up to the task of the other good sites by newspapers elsewhere around the country.

PhilahoopsW will be basically a work in progress this season -- the Guru has to learn yet another platform as he takes on the role of senior editor/writer - women overseeing the women's coverage.

So those of you who have interest, feel freel to contact the Guru and he'll see what's possible because the more help that comes aboards the quicker we'll be able to enhance coverage with photos, videos, chats, etc.

Also, feel free to offer ideas or suggestions, the Guru is always open.

That said, it's time to get back to work and get ready for the season ahead but here is a copy of the release from Aaron's side of the operation. Apologies that on the text-only editor the Guru is using on his iPad, he couldn't copy the actualy philahoops letterhead.

-- Mel

Philahoops Release Announcing PhilahoopsW and the Guru's Involvement

November 8, 2012
Contact: Aaron Bracy

Philahoops is expanding its coverage to include local women’s basketball with today’s launch of PhilahoopsW.com, Philahoops editor Aaron Bracy announced.
PhilahoopsW.com will mirror Philahoops.com, which covers Philadelphia’s six Division I men’s basketball teams, and also will include area women’s powers Delaware, Rutgers and Penn State.

Legendary women’s basketball writer and Hall of Famer Mel Greenberg will oversee the new enterprise as senior editor of PhilahoopsW. Greenberg still will provide commentary and national coverage at his Women's Hoops Guru blog, womhoops.blogspot.com.

“It is very exciting to include Philadelphia women’s basketball in Philahoops’ scope, and there is no better person to lead the coverage than Mel,” Bracy said. “Mel is an authority on women’s hoops and there is no journalist who has contributed more to the women’s game than Mel. The fact that the annual media award for excellence in women’s basketball coverage is named for Mel says it all. I have known Mel for many years and it truly is an honor to join forces with him. His presence brings instant credibility to PhilahoopsW.”

Greenberg, who brings 37 years of local and national years of experience covering women's basketball, spent more than 40 years at The Inquirer prior to his retirement in 2010.

"I didn't retire to mow lawns," jests Greenberg. "If there can be an ESPNW, why not PhilahoopsW considering the birth of the modern women's game has its roots back here dating to Immaculata and West Chester."

Greenberg, who spearheads women's activities for the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA), founded what became the Associated Press weekly women's basketball poll, which was launched in The Inquirer in November 1976.
Online: Philahoops.com On Twitter: @Philahoops Facebook: Facebook.com/Philahoops

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


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