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, January 14, 2014

Mary Jo Haverbeck Tributes IV: Outpouring of Remembrances Continue

By Mel Greenberg

Though we are now out of sequence as time moves forward here are some more remembrances the Guru received from persons who wanted to add to the tributes being paid to Mary Jo Haverbeck, the longtime women's athletics sports information director at Penn State who retired several years ago but remained active on the media side of things chronicling women's basketball and other sports at the university.

Haverbeck died peacefully late Monday night following a short illness and since then tributes have been made saluting her life as a pioneer and visionary.

The funeral Thursday was well attended at St. Andrews Episcopal Church in State College and another service will be held at a date to be determined in Lewes, Del., since she hails from Wilmington.

A three-part collection appeared earlier last week in the Guru's blog but this adds to that set since it is too risky to play around with trying to attach something new at this hour and accidentally causing harm to the existing files.

Tributes also appear on the FAME facebook site.

Here, then are a few more addtions and also to avoid duplication some were sent to both places. Joyce Aschenbrenner, involved for a longtime as an executive of the V Foundation, has a tribute over there.

Here is what is new:

CoSIDA lost a special member with the passing of Mary Jo Haverbeck. We all hope to make a difference in this world, no matter what we do, MJ not only made a difference in the SID field, she made a difference in the lives of so many people she mentored, There is nothing greater than touching someone's life is a positive way, and that is what I will think of when I look back on her amazing life.A consummate professional, and a trailblazer who helped pave a way for women in the sports communication industry, A dear friend to myself, and so many others. She will be missed, but she will never be forgotten.

Larry DoughertySenior Associate AD/CommunicationsTemple University2011 CoSIDA President

“When I heard the sad news regarding MJ’s passing, my initial thought was how fortunate I had been to have had the opportunity to work with her at numerous Women’s Final Fours as a member of the NCAA media coordination committee. A true professional, I learned a lot from her. Her ability to adapt to the changes in the sports information profession made her as relevant at age 74 as she was as a young professional. Her commitment to women’s athletics and specifically women’s basketball, made a huge difference in the collegiate sports landscape we see today. She will be missed.”

Rick NixonAssociate Director, Championships and AlliancesNCAA

At my first CoSIDA convention in St. Louis in 1984, MJ spotted me – a rookie still wet behind the ears – and made me feel welcome. She introduced me to the few female stalwarts in the field at that time and made sure that we all set aside a time to exchange our stories – our successes and our laments.

She was more than a mentor. She created a network for success. One day, MJ called from TFGreen Airport near Providence and told me her flight was delayed. So we met at a nearby Irish pub where we truly had a chance to talk one-on-one about sports, life, frustrations, and joys. I appreciated her candor, her wisdom, and her perspective.

Ever the consummate professional, Mary Jo became the person that I most looked forward to seeing at CoSIDA. Her dedication, her warmth, her passion all fueled me (along with a few random phone conversations) until we could do it all over again the next year.

RIch in spirit, Mary Jo served a large community. She planted seeds and we all grew.


Jean ElliottFormer Sports Information Director at William & Mary, Brown University, and Salisbury State

Additionally, the United States Basketball Writers Association sent an email of condolences to its members and others nothing her longtime membership and help to assist the sports press in its coverage. It also had a link to the obituary in the Centre County Daily Times at State College. Here are the contents.

"The United States Basketball Writers Association is mourning the passing of Mary Jo Haverbeck, a longtime member who played an essential role in the growth and popularity of women’s college basketball.

Haverbeck, an associate sports information director at Penn State University from 1974-99, held multiple national positions that included the NCAA Women’s Final Four media coordination committee and press officer for the U.S. Olympic Committee.

She became the first woman inducted into the College Sports Information Directors of America Hall of Fame in 1995.

“Mary Jo was a pioneer for women in the sports information profession,” said USBWA President Kirk Wessler. “She was a great friend to sports writers.”


On Sunday, Penn State at its Big 10 women's basketball game against Purdue in the Bryce Jordan Center maintained Mary Jo's seat on press row for the Blue/White Illustrated and noted her passing. ESPN also put up a graphic of remembrance during its broadcast.

That gets things up to date, but feel free to add if you had wanted to and thought you missed the deadline.

There will some news coming down the pike real soon involving lasting tributes being planned by various organizations in Mary Jo's name.

-- Mel





- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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