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.

Thursday, July 05, 2018

Guru Commentary: CoSIDA and New President Rob Knox are Made for Each Other

By Mel Greenberg @womhoopsguru


Last Saturday your Guru had the privilege of attending the special awards luncheon at the annual convention of the Collegiate Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) held at the Gaylord National & Resort Convention Center at National Harbor just a few minutes away from the heart of Washington, D.C.


Beyond the joy of seeing many notables in the CoSIDA world again from over the years and the newer blood infusing the organization, the Guru was on the scene specifically to support and watch Rob Knox, currently an athletic media relations associate director at Towson University just outside Baltimore, become the 64th president of the organization.


Of course you all know he is also the Guru’s own, contributing features, event, and opinion stories from his love of women’s basketball, especially the WNBA but also collegiate items over the winter.


I first met Rob decades ago when he was one of the adjunct staffers working The Inquirer’s score service operation that handled high school coverage.


Soon thereafter he joined the sports department of the suburban Delaware County Times and it was a pleasure taking the youngster through the ropes of attending his first WNBA All-Star game, ironically also then held in Washington.


Today, he can be seen at any given moment mentoring young talent seeking the profession as he stood years ago.


A graduate of Chester High (1991) and Lincoln University (1996) in the Philadelphia suburbs, Rob is the second African American following Rutgers’ Bob Smith (1987-88) to become a CoSIDA president and the third ethnic minority when Joe Hernandez (Ball State, 2005-06) is also included.


Rob also worked at his alma mater and Kutztown before moving on to the statistics group at ESPN and then returning to the CoSIDA profession at Coppin and now Towson.


He is also the second graduate of an HBCU (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) school to assume the presidency of an organization covering more than 3,000 representatives from Divisions I (including the Power 5 group), II, and III, NAIA, junior colleges, and Canadian schools. Bob Smith is also a Lincoln grad.


Over the years, Rob has attended many of the events honoring the Guru for his work in women’s basketball coverage so it was without question that the Guru be reciprocal, even though it meant making a tough decision considering the public memorial service for Anne Donovan was being held at the same time at her Paramus High School in North Jersey.


While Rob’s elevation is being noted for the rarity of his roots leading to the organization presidency, the reality is he and CoSIDA are made for each other because they share a common passion of sports, promoting athletes’ stories and helping to grow the next generation.


The Guru, who is a past Jake Wade winner from CoSIDA that involves citing someone in media who has made a significant contribution to collegiate sports, and the organization go way back.


In fact, it is safe to say, without CoSIDA there would not have been a way for the Guru to develop what he is known for.


Back in 1975 when you could count the number of female members of CoSIDA on one hand, it was then-Pittsburgh’s Joyce Aschenbrenner, then-Villanova’s Rosa Gatti, and then-Penn State’s Mary Jo Haverbeck, who went to the organization’s convention and made a pitch to help your Guru who was then attempting to organize what became today’s Associated Press’s weekly women’s basketball poll.


CoSIDA was the first to buy into the initiative and over the years your Guru has watched the organization grow by leaps and bounds, raising money for causes, gaining offshoot affiliates as WoSIDA for the female members, ECAC-Sida and Phila-SIDA and other regional organization, and another subset for minorities in the membership BC-SIDA, the bc standing for Black Colleges.


Temple’s Larry Dougherty, another good friend of the Guru, is also a past president.


The Guru remembers attending several conventions over a span where initially only a small group had an idea what a website was and within two years technology had become a major discussion point of every convention.


When Haverbeck passed away several years ago, the Guru in his role as the women’s rep on the board of the United States Basketball Writers Association (USBWA) helped create an award in her memory and today the Guru is pleased to work with CoSIDA from his USBWA role involving women’s initiatives.


Meanwhile, understand when bad news as well as worthwhile items involve an athletic department, it is usually the SID who will be the first point of contact between the news media (print and broadcast) and the university involved.


In fact, these days, the CoSIDA convention is held alongside NACDA (National Association of Collegiate Athletic Directors) and several other organizations involving administration of collegiate athletics.


So with all that said, congratulations to CoSIDA on their successful convention and the Guru sends his best to Rob to have a great year running the show.


But don’t think it will be a while before Rob is back on these pages. In fact, he will be on the scene Thursday night, as weill the Guru, at the Capital One Center when the WNBA Washington Mystics host the New York Liberty.



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