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, June 06, 2013

The Halls of Fame Citations Keep Coming as Fast as the NCAA Titles for UConn's Geno Auriema

By Mel Greenberg

Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma is heading down here this weekend to welcome two longtime friends and connections who will be part of the newest six-member induction class of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame.

Recently hired Chattanooga coach Jim Foster, who was let go by Ohio State at the end of last season, gave Auriemma his first job as an assistant when Foster became women's coach at Saint Joseph's in Philadelphia in the early 1980s.

Current Hawks coach Cindy Griffin and others from the Big Five school are expected to be part of Foster's delegation as well as players and associates from his past jobs with the Buckeyes and at Vanderbilt several hours away to the east in Nashville, the locale of next season's NCAA Women's Final Four.

Hartford coach Jen Rizzotti, who played for Auriemma on UConn's first of eight NCAA titlists in 1995, is being inducted as a player.

But before all the fun begins. several weeks after being named to the Connecticut (state) Hall of Fame, Auriemma, also in the hall here and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., among others, is going to get his due from his youthful roots on Thursday when the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame holds an announcement luncheon at the Sheraton Society Hill to announce the tenth class of inductees.

Auriemma, who guided the United States to an Olympic gold medal last summer at the London Games in England, grew up in Norristown just outside Philadelphia and considering many of his boyhood mafia help run the Philly hall it is a surprise that it has taken this long for Auriemma to get named.

The philly sports organization's web site will have all the details later Thursday. At least one other prominent person from the Philly women's basketball world is expected to be named, joining last year's inductee Debbie Black, and previously such notables as Dawn Staley, who is headed for the Naismith Hall in September, and former Immaculata coach Cathy Rush and past Mighty Macs stars Theresa Grentz and Marianne Stanley, who is currently an assistant with the WNBA Washington Mystics.

Auriemma, whose previous big Philly moment in his sport was winning the 2000 NCAA Women's Final Four at the then-named Wachovia Center in South Philadelphia, is not expected to attend Thursday's event according to several sources due to other commitments.

Grentz, who is in the Hall here, is coming down to support Foster, who was on her staff when she coached the 1992 U.S. Olympic team, and also her former Rutgers all-American and former WNBA New York Liberty star Sue Wicks.

Incidentally, though nothing is in the cards at this time for the resumption of the noted Tennessee-Connecticut rivalry of the past, Auriemma and Lady Vols coach Holly Warlick are co-hosting a reception before Saturday's ceremony that is priced at $100 extra on the weekend package to raise money for the Hall.

Warlick just finished her first season succeeding her former boss and coach the legendary Pat Summitt, who stepped aside to be coach emeritus at the end of the 2012 season as part of her battle against early onset dementia, Alzheimer's type.

Summitt's son Tyler, who finished his first year on the staff of Marquette, got married here last weekend so there never is any down time for news in Lady Vols land.

As far as Guru coverage here, he is waiting to hear whether his former paper in Philadelphia wants him on the case for them but otherwise will split coverage with Foster-Wicks items at PhilahoopsW and the rest of it right here.

Since this is the home of the Guru's ace photo guy William "Willbill" Ewart, pictures will accompany all coverage at PhilahoopsW.com.

Meanwhile, the Guru made the all-night drive and arrived here a little whiile ago with little problems thanks to outstanding music from the Guru's killer playlist on the iPad.

So time for some quick snacks in the upper floor of the Marriott headquarters here and then some shuteye before making the rounds.

Those who have been asking if the Guru would be on the scene can email if they want to hook up though the Marriott sports bar is usually the chief hangout here.

Colleagues elsewhere will handle the WNBA coverage at their sites until the Guru returns up north late Sunday night or sunrise Monday -- take your pick.

-- Mel

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Enjoying your posts from the Hall. When I interviewed at Knoxpatch, they put me up at the Marriott. More than 30 years later, I still have the room key. Any chance of a Summitt appearance?

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