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, July 01, 2014

Guru's Breaking News: The American's Danielle Donehew to be Named New Head of the WBCA

By Mel Greenberg

Danielle Donehew, assistant commissioner of women's basketball for the American Athletic Conference, is set to be named the new chief executive officer and executive director of the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA), succeeding Beth Bass, who resigned in April, according to several sources who asked not to be named because the official announcement has yet to be made.

The WBCA in an email Tuesday afternoon said it will announce the choice Wednesday at 10 a.m. at its website.

Donehew, who is also on the advisory board of the Pat Summitt Foundation, becomes the third person in the WBCA's 30-year history to oversee the organization of some 3,000 members, succeeding the late Betty F. Jaynes, who was the founding CEO and who died in February, and Bass, who served since 1996 after having come from working with Nike.

Salary terms are not known.

Donehew, a former Georgia Tech basketball star, emerged Monday as the choice of the WBCA executive committee from an original pool of some 100 applicants who were reduced to four candidates last week by the search committee and brought to an Atlanta hotel near the organization's suburban headquarters last weekend for interviews.

Two were then recommended to the executive committee to make a decision. The finalists after the initial cut have not been publicly identified but several sources said the overall pool was very competitive.

Shannon Reynolds, the chief operating officer who has been serving as interim CEO since Bass's departure, quipped to the Guru at last month's Women's Basketball Hall of Fame induction celebration in Knoxville, Tenn., that she was waiting to learn who her new boss would be but noted a great pool of candidates existed.

She was part of the search group but did not have a vote.

Former Atlantic 10 Commissioner Linda Bruno, who now runs her own search firm, was hired to oversee the process.

Through various conversations during the search, the Guru learned the applicants, who asked not to be named, came from such backgrounds as athletic conference offices, such as Donehew, athletic apparel companies in the likes, for example, of Nike and Under Armour, past coaching jobs, collegiate athletic department front offices, or business positions not necessarily involved with athletics.

Additionally, Felicia Allen, a former Iowa star in the mid 1980s who runs the prestigious Step Up seminar for assistant coaches and is headquartered in North Carolina, had told the Guru in May she planned to apply.

The deal breaker for Donehew was quite possibly her familiarity with NCAA officials in light of a major change in NCAA governing structure ahead later this summer that will have a major impact on the sport as well as the others at NCAA member institutions.

Persons who have served on various committees with Donehew in the NCAA have from time to time told the Guru how impressed they have been with her work.

Donehew is also vice-chair and a founding board member on the NCAA Women’s Collegiate Basketball Officiating, LLC. The Board’s objective is to establish a structure for greater consistency and accountability for the game of basketball.

She is also a board member for the non-profit, Athletes for a Better World.

The personable Donehew in her role at The American has been popular with the media, especially the large contingent that covers NCAA champion Connecticut, because of her accessibility to provide information pertaining to conference matters, especially those affecting the Huskies.

Donehew comes to the WBCA at a time when the organization faces financial challenges in heading to new directions as she becomes the coaches' leader in the home office.

Sponsorships have been lost during the national decline in the economy and last April the annual high school all-star game was not held at the Women's Final Four in Nashville.

Donehew was in charge of women's basketball in the former Big East configuration when it was the top conference in women's basketball and moved with the remaining staff to work the transition to The American after the Big East split apart a year ago.

She helped land the conference tournament at the Mohegan Sun and also launch the digital broadcast package that was praised last season.

Over that span Donehew, who also worked with the WNBA Atlanta Dream and powerful University of Tennessee program, worked with such coaches as Connecticut's Geno Auriemma, Rutgers' C. Vivian Stringer, Louisville's Jeff Walz, DePaul's Doug Bruno, and, locally, here in Villanova's Harry Perretta and Temple's Tonya Cardoza.

Her departure creates a key vacancy at The American, which Tuesday officially lost Rutgers to the Big Ten and Louisville to the Atlantic Coast Conference but picked up East Carolina, Tulsa, and Tulane as result of the recent wave of conference shuffling the last several seasons.

Here is a copy of Donehew's biography listed at The American website.

Danielle Donehew joined the conference staff in 2009 as Associate Commissioner for Women’s Basketball.

Donehew oversees all aspects of American Athletic Conference women’s basketball, including television, scheduling, branding and messaging, and management of the conference championship. She is the primary liaison between the conference and member institutions in women’s basketball matters.

Before joining the conference, Donehew had been Executive Vice President of the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream, where she was involved with all areas of the franchise operations. She also invested seven years in various capacities at the University of Tennessee, most recently as Assistant Athletic Director for Women’s Basketball Operations.

Donehew earned her master’s degree in sports management from the University of Tennessee. Donehew earned her bachelor’s degree in industrial and systems engineering at Georgia Tech, where she was a member of the Yellow Jacket basketball team. Donehew was named an ACC Legend in 2013.

Additionally, here is enhanced information from her biography on the Summitt Foundation website.

Donehew graduated cum laude from Georgia Tech in 2001 with a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial and Systems Engineering.

She earned numerous accolades during her collegiate basketball career where she established herself as a premier perimeter shooter, finishing third all-time in the Atlantic Coast Conference for three-point field goals made.

Off the court, she was an active member of Phi Mu Sorority and was named the 1999 Georgia Tech Homecoming Queen.

During the summer after finishing her playing career, Donehew studied abroad at Worcester College in Oxford, England. For her leadership, Georgia Tech awarded her the Woman Out Front Award in February of 2009.

For her contributions to Georgia Tech and the ACC, Donehew was named an ACC Legend in March of 2013. Donehew resides in Providence, Rhode Island and was named to the Pat Summitt Foundation Advisory Board in 2012.

- Posted using BlogPress from the Guru's iPad


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