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.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Tribute To Betty Jaynes, Part 2: Some Memories From Her JMU Family

By Mel Greenberg

Of course the Guru had to go to one of Betty Jaynes' professional roots, the folks at James Madison University where she coached before launcing the WBCA,as well as some other notables in the state of Virginia, to go down memory lane.

More will probably come in since requests for offering remembrances didn't start hitting in-boxes until Tuesday afternoon.

But to start, here, first, is a memory from one of Betty Jaynes' former players, as well as her JMU sports information director.

Additionally, Wendy Larry, now with the Atlantic 10 over women's basketball, but who played and coached at Old Dominion in the state and also served as a WBCA president, appears in the post above this one.

Betsy Blose
Special Assistant to the AD for Advancement and Alumni Engagement:

I had the honor and privilege to be recruited and to have played for "my coach," Betty Jaynes at JMU. I was a local talent that attended her camps at JMU since middle school on. I remember going to the AIAW Tournament in 1975 at JMU in the old Godwin Hall. Both Betty Jaynes and Leotus Morrison led the way in getting that tournament there.

I remember trying out for the JMU team (back in 1980 you could do that). I remember her putting us through drills and than telling us we didn't have to run the sprints but I ran them anyway. Years later she told me that is why she signed me. She liked my spunk!!

I remember her running up and down the sidelines yelling at the officials. Boy could she get after them. She had the spunk!!

I remember her being on so many committees to help develop the game and promote women in sports. She did it all out of her little office at JMU. I remember in 1982 her telling us she would be leaving to work full-time with the WBCA.

I cried.

I didn't want her to go but knew the game needed her. The rest is history. I have stayed in touch with ever since.

She has been an inspiration to not only me but to anyone and everyone who is associated with the game of basketball. When you look up basketball in the dictionary, you not only see the name Naismith, but you see the name Betty Jaynes.

I love you Coach Jaynes. I will miss you.

Milla Sue Wisecarver
Retired JMU assistant sports information director:

I had the honor and privilege of working with Betty Jaynes in my position as sports information director for women's basketball when she was coaching at Madison College/James Madison University.

After she left JMU to become the first executive director of the WBCA, our paths crossed infrequently. However, those subsequent encounters/phone calls were always characterized by laughter and fun.

Even in a serious conversation, there would always be a light-hearted moment.

That's what I'll remember about Betty -- her infectious laugh and "loving life" approach to every moment-- along with the enormous impact she had in the world of women's basketball.

Most likely more to come from JMU -- Mel

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