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.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

WNBA Indiana Fever Coach Lin Dunn Headlines 2014 Women's Basketball Hall of Fame Class

By Mel Greenberg

UNCASVILLE, Conn. --
The great moments keep coming later in the career of WNBA Indiana Fever coach Lin Dunn.

Following winning her first league championship last year when the Fever upset the local Connecticut Sun here at Mohegan in the Eastern finals and then went on to dethrone the defending rulers Minnesota Lynx out of the West, Dunn got to coach the East squad in Saturday's All-Star game.

At halftime, ESPN announced Dunn as part of the new six-member class of the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame who will be inducted next June at the home of the Hall in Knoxville, Tenn.

"Are we doing that this weekend?" Dunn quipped when privately congratulated Friday afternoon during the All-Star interview session here at the Mohegan Sun Arena.

"I've been so busy with this I lost sight that was coming. I haven't even told my staff so it will be a surprise to them," Dunn continued.

"Well you know it's overwhelming, it's humbling it's a tremendous honor. I know some of my colleagues and peers that are already in the basketball hall of fame and to be able to join them is a wonderful moment for me.

"When I found out I immediately thought of my mother and how excited she would be. she's always been my favorite fan. i lost her last year. She'll be smiling down proudly for me. it's my 43 year of coaching, so I can look back and say I'm excited to be a part of the history of the growth of women's basketball collegiately and professional. It's a unique moment for me."

Dunn also coached in the former American Basketball League and in collegiate competition at Purdue, Miami, and Mississippi besides being an Olympic assistant in 1992 to former Immaculata superstar Theresa Grentz, herself a WBHOF who coached at Saint Joseph's, Rutgers and Illinois.

Meanwhile the rest of the WBHOF class makes it a pretty eclectic group.

Mimi Griffin, a Pittsburgh graduate whose MSG Promotions manages hospitality events for golf's U.S. Open and other major events and who lives in Allentown, Pa., was one of the early women's basketball broadcasters of the modern era and is the third media member to be inducted joining yours truly, who was honored in 2007, and the great broadcaster Robin Roberts, who was enshrined a year ago.

Griffin was the first woman to broadcast early rounds of the NCAA men's tournament.

Besides her work with the U.S. Open, Griffin has been an Executive Director for the 1992 and 2000 U.S. Senior Opens, and 2009 U.S. Women’s Open all held at Saucon Valley Country Club, in Bethlehem, PA, as well as for the 1995 U.S. Women’s Open at the Broadmoor Golf Club in Colorado Springs, CO.

In 2009, Griffin was named one of the “Best 50 Women in Business” by Pennsylvania Governor Edward G. Rendell and the Department of Community & Economic Development.

Griffin had also been involved with the Special Events Marketing department at Manufacturers Hanover Trust (1980-82) in New York City, which ran women's basketball tournaments in Madison Square Garden, and later served of National Director of Promotions for Women’s Athletics for Converse (1983-85).

Michelle Edwards, an assistant at Rutgers under the legendary C. Vivian Stringer, played for her Hall of Fame boss when both were at Iowa and is a native of Boston.

Iowa received its first No. 1 ranking in The Associated Press women's poll when Edwards, who also played in the WNBA, played for the Hawkeyes in the mid-1980s.

Yolanda Griffith was a standout center in the former American Basketball League and starred for the former Sacramento Monarchs winning a WNBA title besides playing for USA in the Olympics and winning a pair of gold medals.

Griffith, considered one of the all-time defenders and rebounders in the sport, was recently hired as the top assistant to South Jersey's Dianne Nolan at Lafayette, replacing former Saint Joseph's star Kim Foley, who joined the staff of new Eastern Illinois coach Kim Debbie Black, another for Hawks sensation.

She spent the last several years as an assistant at Dartmouth.

Former Maryland great Jasmina Perazic, a native of Yugoslavia who played on the 1984 Yugoslavian Olympic team will become the latest Terrapin to enter the Hall joining former coach Chris Weller (2010) and Olympian Vicky Bullett (2011) who were honored in separate classes several years ago.

"I'm so thrilled and delighted for her," Weller said. "Her senior year she was All-American and All-European. I used to joke with her and say she was All-World."

"Jazz" is now an assistant women's basketball coach at Monmouth University in central New Jersey and previously coached high school in the Washington area.

"People have nominated me in the past but it is not something I think about," Perazic said. "It is quite an honor. I was there when Chris was inducted and they do a nice job and it is a lot of fun.

"It's funny. Three of us are all out here now recruiting and we're now Hall of Fame assistant coaches," Perazic said of Edwards, Griffith and herself.

The sixth inductee, Charlotte West, a founder of the former Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW), pre-dating the arrival of the NCAA competition for women in 1981-82, was a succesful women's athletic director at Southern Illinois and involved with USA Basketball and served on the U.S. Olympic committee.

Additionally, the 1976 USA squad who won a silver medal when women's basketball became part of the games in Montreal will be the second recipient of the Hall's recently add trailblazer award.

"The neat thing is most of those players are already in the Hall as individual inductees," said women's basketball broadcast analyst Debbie Antonelli, who also serves as voice of the hall and emcees the events at induction weekend.

That group includes former Delta State star Lusia Harris, Tennessee Hall of Fame legendary coach Pat Summitt, then a player, UCLA great Anne Meyers and former Old Dominion great Nancy Lieberman who was then a high school senior out of New York.

One member of the 1976 USA team yet to be inducted is former Queens College star Gail Marquis out of New York.

Each class gets determined by the WBHOF board when members meets during induction weekend and then usually gets its first public introduction during ESPN's telecast the next month during the WNBA All-Star game.

A year ago with no event because of it being an Olympic year, the 2012 class was announced during an exhibition game involving the men's and women's USA teams in a doubleheader in Washington attended by President Obama and Vice President Biden, a big fan of his alma mater Delaware women's basketball team.

The headliner of the Blue Hens the last four years was Elena Delle Donne, who was second in the overall draft taken in April by the Chicago Sky and became the first rookie to be the overall votegetter in the voting for starter by the fans.

Set to be joined by former Baylor star Brittney Griner, the number overall pick by the Phoenix Mercury, Delle Donne and Griner were supposed to make history as the first 1-2 rookie picks by the fans but neither was in uniform.

Delle Donne was back home in Delaware recovering from a concussion suffered in the third quarter of Chicago's loss in Washington Wednesday after holding a 21-point lead.

Griner is here but has missed five games with a sprained left knee.

Former La Salle star Cheryl Reeve, the coach of Minnesota, guided the West with four members of her squad here on the All-Star roster including former UConn great Maya Moore.

The Lynx won the 2011 title and Reeve is one of several individuals being speculated as coach of the 2016 USA squad that will defend its five straight gold medals.

On Friday Delle Donne tweeted expressing her disappointment and thanking the fans for their well-wishes and saying she was feeling much better and resting to prepare for the second half of the season when Chicago will resume action with a slim lead in the East over the Atlanta Dream -- the first time the Sky has been in first this late in the season.

Chicago has yet to make the playoffs since joing the league in 2006.



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