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.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Ginny Doyle Tribute VII: We Talk of Impact Players - How About Impact Coaches?

( Guru's note: Under this post is a column/report on other news featuring Elena Delle Donne off New York game hosting Chicago, Saturday night; item on Sky pleased with how night went overall at Delaware; rant on missing NY media; latest news on WBCA search. )

By Mel Greenberg

PHILADELPHIA --
Much of the reaction with tributes sent here about Richmond assistant Ginny Doyle, a native of Philadelphia who died in the tragic balloon accident in Virginia last weekend, along with operations director Natalie Lewie and balloon captain Dan Kirk, have come from people with ongoing working relationships to Doyle.

But Villanova coach Harry Perretta in a speech a long time ago once referenced someone or said himself that you never know how many people in life you can impact.

True to Perretta's words, here are two tributes from people who hardly knew Doyle but felt impacted for the good by having met her.

One comes from Julia Kaufman, assistant coach at Seton Hill, who spoke at the recent Step Up seminar for assistant coaches in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

Felicia Hall Allen, who rund Step Up, with her husband Johnny, told the Guru that Ginny made a tape video of her experience at the seminar and that went completed it will be sent to the family, from which her brother Joe told the Guru they are pleased since that sadly is the fine video Ginny will have recorded or appeared.

The other comes from Joe Haigh, head coach at St. Francis, of Pennsylvania.

First, Julia's tribute was sent to the family but all parties wanted to share it through here as part of the ongoing tribute.

A New Friendship Shortened by Tragedy

May 15, 2014

To Ginny’s family,

I wanted to first off express my deepest condolences to you in this time of grieve. My thoughts and prayers are with you.

I decided to send just a short note expressing to you how Ginny impacted my life as a coach, in just 45 minutes of meeting her.

I met Ginny at the “A Step Up” Assistant Coaching Symposium in Florida, a couple weekends ago.

I first came in contact with her at a “roundtable” discussion on team building activities.

One activity she expressed caught my interest, so after the day was finished I introduced myself to her.

Keep in mind, I am just finishing my 6th year of coaching at the division 2 level, this was only my second symposium and I am very intimidated by D1 coaches, I NEVER talk to them without them speaking to me first.

But somehow I got the strength to go talk to Ginny.

I was extremely nervous in asking her about a simple team building activity.

A conversation that should have taken 5 minutes, turned into 45, maybe because she sensed my excitement for the game.

We both shared a lot of similarities and as she spoke I just keep asking more questions.

Her open demeanor, her humbled attitude and her loyalty are all things I value in my life and gravitate towards.

In a short period of time, I knew that Ginny shared those same values.

Along our discussion we got on the topic of why she has been an assistant coach for so long.

One thing that resonates with me was that she was perfectly ok with being an assistant coach.

She expressed to me that throughout her career she has had many opportunities to move into a head-coaching role but was never 100% ready.

She voiced that after 20 years of coaching and one year of attending the symposium she has gained the confidence to take over any program but that her loyalty to the University of Richmond will always be a factor in moving.

In this life I feel that loyalty to our jobs, our bosses, our family, our friends is truly the most important trait to acquire.

I admire Ginny for being one of the most loyal people I have ever met.

And I am truly gracious for the opportunity I had to talk with Ginny.

Although Ginny was in my life for only 45 minutes she made a huge impact on how I see this profession.

Her impression on my life will be something I will always hold onto, on and off the basketball court.

​I included the thank you card I never got to send to Ginny.

Please take notice of the date on my note … I wrote her the note Friday morning and was going to send it to her Monday the 12th, when I returned back to work.

When I found out about the accident Saturday morning, I immediately thought about the note I wrote and how I had to get it to her family.

I hope it brings you a sense of comfort and strength in helping you deal with the loss of Ginny.

I wont be able to attend the services but please feel free to reach out to me if need be.

My deepest condolences,

Julie Kaufman
Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach

(Guru's Note: Some in the coaching community are already talking about the need to establish an award in Ginny's name for assistant coaches in the manner of the reflection of the Maggie Dixon award in her memory to rookie Division I coaches. Feel free to offer suggestions to the Guru as to what qualities could go into such an assistant coach award.)
​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​
A Perceived Act of Kindness Creates a New Friendship

This feels weird to say, because as a new kid in women's basketball, I wasn't close friends with Ginny like so many others.

And I wouldn't want to be disrespectful in any way to all of those close friendships.

But she was such a good person, and she touched my life.

And in one phone call she showed me the type of person that she was.

Ginny was easily one of the friendliest, most welcoming coaches in the business to a new, know nobody (and nothing) assistant.

She was so unselfish.

Our longest conversation (over an hour long) was when Susan (Robinson-Fruchtl) left to take the Providence job, and Ginny called me to talk about the Bucknell job opening and ask what was going to happen at Saint Francis.

Even though SFU was taking applications, when she heard that I wanted a chance at the head job, not only didn't she apply, but she wouldn't even discuss it with me further.

I will always remember that act of selflessness and kindness that she (and at least one other long time highly qualified asst coach) showed that spring.

As silly as this might sound, the first summer I was out recruiting, we sat next to each other somewhere, wearing the same pair of crisp clean white air max shoes.

Mine are no longer quite white, but last Saturday they came out of the closet, and I wear them right now.

More to come -- Mel





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