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.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Ginny Doyle Tribute 13: Yet Another Aspect From the Recruiting Trail

By Mel Greenberg

A day after the official 48-hour local memorials for Richmond associate head women's basketball coach Ginny Doyle, the former Arcbishop Ryan star, concluded, an email arrived Thursday bringing yet a new aspect of a working relationship with the popular coach who was one of the three victims in the horrific balloon accident in Virginia on May 9 when it came in contact with power lines while approaching a designated landing area.

Rose Katz is head coach of Division III Arcadia in suburban Philadelphia but in a previous stint in the nationally prominent Philadelphia Belles AAU organization, one of Katz's players, Genevieve Okoro, a native of nearby Gibbsboro, N.J., who also starred at Eastern Regional High, was successfully recruited by Doyle.

Okoro will be a redshirt senior 6-0 forward in the fall having missed a season because of an injury.

Here is the full copy of Rose's memory:

Hi Mel.

My name is Rose Katz and I am the head women's basketball coach at Arcadia University.

I first came in touch with Ginny Doyle when I was coaching for the Philadelphia Belles AAU organization and she was recruiting one of my players for Richmond. Ginny was so passionate, respectful, engaging, enthusiastic, patient, and couldn't provide more care during Genevieve's recruiting process. One time, Richmond was playing at Drexel. Coach Doyle rode back to Richmond after the game with the team, and then drove all the way back up to South Jersey the very next day to watch Gen play a high school game when Eastern played against Cherry Hill West. I have saved countless e-mails from Ginny to Genevieve over the time she was recruiting her.

The summer prior to Gen's senior year we took an unofficial visit to Richmond. When we pulled up to the Robins Center, Coach Doyle was waiting for us to arrive outside. Gen was so excited to be on campus and meet Coach Doyle that she literally tripped and fell getting out of the car. It was in that moment I knew that Gen was going to be a Spider.

Gen committed to Richmond a few weeks after that. It was by far the best decision she could have made and I would say more than 90% of that was due to Coach Doyle and the love and care she showed for Gen and continued to throughout her first 4 years at Richmond. Gen is a 5th year senior due to an ACL injury her sophomore year.

This season Richmond played at Virginia Tech and I traveled to the game with some friends. Gen came up to see me after their win and Coach Doyle followed behind. Coach Doyle wanted to hear all about my coaching career (even being a little D3 coach) and how everything was going. But that's just the kind of person she was. Always wanting to know about other people's experiences and seeing if she could lend a hand in anyway.

I know Genevieve misses Coach Doyle greatly. But I know Gen is ready to lead Richmond in Coach Doyle's memory to an awesome season this year.

Thank you for keeping the blog up to date and full of wonderful memories of Coach Doyle. It really does mean a lot to everyone she has touched, including myself.

- Rose Katz

Rose M. Katz
Head Women's Basketball Coach
Arcadia University

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Ginny Doyle Tribute 12: Eulogy and Homily Focus on Doyle's Many Attributes

By Mel Greenberg

With sorrow in their hearts but with joy blended into their grief in recalling the good times with Ginny Doyle, mourners gathered in the chapel of St. Bede the Venerable Parish Wednesday morning in lower Bucks County for the second of the two-day farewell services for the 44-year-old former Archbishop Ryan star who had been a longtime University of Richmond associate head women's basketball coach at her alma mater.

Doyle, basketball operations director Natalie Lewis, 24, of Buffalo and veteran captain Dan T. Kirk were killed on May 10 when the balloon Kirk was piloting at a festival near Richmond, Va., came in contact with power lines, caught fire and exploded while attempting to reach a designated landing area after being aloft with 12 other balloons, all of which reached ground safely.

Lewis was a swimmer with the Spiders before her graduation.

Circumstances of the accident are still being investigated.

One report had stated Kirk may have had a map that did not show the location of the power lines but the complete findings have yet to be released.

Doyle's twitter account @gdoyle33 was still online as of sunrise Thursday morning as this writing was being finalized for posting tot his blog.

The comments in Doyle's twitter account in the span of her final week are poignant as they stem from the excitment over having attended a seminar for assistant coaches to the moment six days later when the balloon she was to ride was about to take off.

Since the news of the horrific tragedy began to spread the next day through social media, news broadcasts, and simple word of mouth when the identities of the victims became apparent, there has been a tremendous outpouring of sympathy for the families of all three casualties.

But the death of Doyle has hit particularly hard in the women's basketball collegiate community where she was widely known across the country, first as a prolific foul shooter as a Hall of Famer at Ryan, a Catholic League school near here in Northeast Philadelphia, and then at Richmond, where she set an NCAA record that stood for a long time for connecting on 66 straight foul shots in 1991-92, her senior season.

That skill earned her the nickname "Deadeye Doyle."

In 1999 the former Spiders star became an assistant coach at Richmond, and in 2011 current head coach Michael Shafer, the third of three mentors she worked for, promoted her to associate head coach.

"I was told the greatest title she loved was that of 'Coach'," Monsigner John C. Marine, the pastor of St. Bede, said during his homily at the Mass for Doyle.

"She was a coach in the greatest meaning of that word," Marine remarked. "She loved to discover talented young people and help them to appreciate that talent and bring it out to the fullest.

"I understand she loved to tell stories and was told she took an interest in the story people told of their life. She listened. She was interested in people's lives, especially the young women of Richmond who came into her life," Marine continued.

"And she wanted their lives to be as happy and fulfilled aa hers was. And from knowing Ginny, their lives were changed.

"She taught her students the meaning of teammwork because she could see how each person had their own individual gifts and strengths to bring to the team. Each person in her life was respected as an individual."

The two-day tributes began Tuesday night at Givnish Funeral Home in Northeast Philadelphia where some 400 persons showed up for the visitation to offer condolences and to view the many mementos from Doyle's life which were on displayed.

A large portion were then transported here Wednesday morning to offer those who hadn't been to Tuesday's event to view them during the hour of silent prayer that preceded the one-hour Mass.

Some of the newer arrivals among the mourners included Archbishop Ryan players in their uniforms, Atlantic 10 commissioner Bernadette V. McGlade, George Washington coach Jonathan Tsipis, Saint Francis of Loretto coach Joe Haigh, Saint Joseph's coach Cindy Griffin and her staff, and the assistants of Penn coach Mike McLaughlin, to name just a few among the several hundred mourners at the service here.

As mentioned in Tuesday's report, most of the Richnmond team, along with key athletic department and other university officials, came up by charter bus Tuesday and stayed for Wednesday's ceremony and after-luncheon held nearby at the Buck Hotel.

Richmond has already held a short service soon after the tragedy occurred but will hold a much larger tribute in the fall.

Shortly before the Mass got under way at the end of the prayer hour one of Doyle's nephews, Raymond Doyle III, a recent Temple sports communications graduate who works at NFL Films, delivered the eulogy.

The Doyle family, who have been simply terrific in helping the Guru with coverage for the many who have not been able to come to the tributes here, sent a copy of the eulogy afterwards to spare the Guru the transcription drudgery and enable you to read the full farewell tribute much quicker.

Here it is now to close out today's report.

Eulogy for Ginny Doyle

Good morning and, on behalf of my Grandmother and my family, I thank each and every one of you for being here today. We are grateful to Monsignor Marine and the people of St. Bede the Venerable Parish for their kindness and hospitality, as we come here to celebrate the life of Ginny Doyle in this beautiful Church.

In the Gospel of John, Jesus says, “It was not you who chose Me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last.” Since May 9th, so much has been said about Ginny Doyle that it seems she understood these words of Jesus, carved them into her memory and lived her life to the fullest; for my Aunt Ginny bore much fruit throughout her short life.

Ginny went by many names depending on the time in her life or her whereabouts.

Dead-eye Doyle, Little Bit, Gin-toads, Petunia and, her most favored name, Coach Doyle, were names Ginny acquired and was proud to bear.

I wonder if my Aunt Ginny were here today would she recognize the names she received from those who knew her well following the tragic events of May 9th?

Names such as: loyal colleague, best friend, amazing person, caring individual; giving of self with no expectation of payback.

The list of values and attributes she exhibited went on for days: advocate for young people, passionate about her life’s calling, welcoming to everyone, thoughtful, approachable, positive, a mentor, best recruiter, and dedicated Spider.

Ginny could very easily walk into other people’s lives and make a connection that would last for years.

She always gave her time to conversation and when she got to know you, she showed her dry witty sense of humor.

Over the years, many parents of the girls on the team would tell Ginny that she was the reason they were entrusting their daughters to the University.

Her integrity, character and demeanor spoke volumes to them and they wanted that for their daughters for life beyond the basketball court.

As a family, we watched Aunt Ginny so often in her role as coach, recruiter, and advocate for young women, so the words and stories following May 9th didn’t surprise us.

However, as a family, we knew the “other side” of the public persona, so we know that our Aunt Ginny was also very competitive, and spoke her mind.

She was patient to a point and extremely generous; purchasing Phillies season tickets, summer vacations and of course lots of Richmond gear!

Aunt Ginny had great expectations of herself and she continually challenged her abilities to take the next step. She knew the Lord would be there to help her, guide her and provide the grace to excel both on and off the basketball court.

Over her sixteen seasons at the University of Richmond, Ginny developed a real southern persona.

She loved the South, relished country music, and became an even better storyteller than she was before life in Richmond.

Oh, I didn’t tell you Ginny was a great storyteller. She had you feeling like you were right there in the midst of the action.

However, from time to time, her southern side would win out while she was home in Philadelphia and her stories grew longer and longer.

Without mentioning names, certain family members would tell her to speed it up and get to the point! We aren’t as patient in the North!

Aunt Ginny lived life to the fullest. When opportunities came her way, her classic response would be, “Let’s do it!”

From her earliest years, Ginny looked to athletics for fun, competition and adventure.

She begged her brother Ray, my Dad, to teach her how to waterski when she could hardly see over the deck of the boat.

She caught a record size trout when she was on that boat but the men didn’t tell that story to very many people!

Ginny was also a force to be reckoned with as her brother, my Uncle Joe, realized firsthand when they would swim, play tennis or basketball together.

Aunt Ginny excelled at all sports. When Ginny was born, she had to have a blood transfusion so we all thought she must have been given some sort of supped up blood since her energy, enthusiasm and on- the-go spirit was beyond what we could keep up with on many a day.

As a basketball player, my Aunt Ginny was a formidable competitor.

She played high school ball in the prominent Philadelphia Catholic League.

Teammates have said, you always gave the ball to her when she was open; simply put, she made shots!

She surely wasn’t known for passing the ball or her assists!

Aunt Ginny held many records, played for four different head coaches, coached under three head coaches at the University of Richmond which made her the longest tenured assistant in the State of Virginia and I’d be remised, if I didn’t mention her NCAA Division I consecutive free throw shooting record, which she held for 18 years.

She went on to have a ‘friendly’ free throw shooting competition against Billy Packer, for which she received much national acclaim.

But Aunt Ginny was always humble and modest when asked about the contest.

Two families with very different stories were forever impacted on May 9th.

Natalie Lewis was a very close friend of Ginny’s and we can almost guess that their spirits of “Let’s do it” caused them to take the ride that so many others had taken before them with successful experiences.

Neither Ginny nor Natalie would have risked such adventure if they could have, even for a fleeting moment, realized their lives would be over in a flash.

They had too much to live for and they leave families who are now steeped in grief for the loss is almost unbearable.

Today, we come here to celebrate the life of Ginny Doyle.

Our memories will be of a Ginny who was a loving, devoted daughter to her mother Ginny, a strong and fiercely loyal sibling to her sister, Pat and her brothers, Ray and Joe, a doting Aunt to me, Michael and Kelly and held a special place in her heart for her Aunt Mary who has always been Ginny’s biggest fan.

We are all blest to have had the opportunity to be part of her life. She truly touched many lives and her legacy will live on!

I end here as I began proud and honored to have had such a cherished aunt as my Aunt Ginny who heard Jesus’ call throughout her life, “It was not you who chose Me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit, fruit that will last.”

And Grammy, I think Ginny would tell you that her last call for help was to Jesus and he caught her soul and took her with him to heaven where she is sure to live life to the fullest.

-- Mel

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Ginny Doyle Tribute 11: Hundreds Pay Farewell at Life Celebration

By Mel Greenberg

As the hour neared on Tuesday night to begin the life celebration of former Archbishop Ryan star Ginny Doyle, the Richmond associate head women's basketball coach of her alma mater who was one of the three victims who died in the balloon accident on May 10 in Virginia, the skies over the city darkened and unleashed a gush of tears in the form of raindrops to mourn her untimely passing at the age of 44.

The fast-moving storm did not stop family, friends and many notables in the women's basketball world from the area and across the country to attend the first of a two-day tribute to Doyle, which will conclude Wednesday morning with an hour of private prayer at 10 a.m. followed by a mass at 11 at St. Bede's Church on Holland Road in Lower Bucks County.

Also killed in the accident when the balloon struck power lines while coming in for a landing were Natalie Lewis, the Spiders' operations director for women's basketball, and the balloon's pilot Dan T. Kirk.

According to officials at the Givnish Funeral Home in Northeast Philadelphia where the life celebraton was held, about 400 people came through the line that formed at about 6:30 p.m. and ended with the last person to leave shortly before 11.

Many more will be at the church Wednesday morning and most of the first hour is devoted to enable those who did not get to the funeral home to pay their respects to Doyle's relatives.

A family member will offer the eulogy near the end of the hour of prayer and Ginny brother's Joe, who is not giving the tribute, said the presentation will recall the life of "Dead-Eye Doyle."

That was the nickname she earned for being a prolific foul shooter who set an NCAA record with 66 straight free throws that was eclipsed years later.

Doyle would have been pleased with the array of mementos from her life that were displayed in a separate room that for the night became her personal Hall of Fame.

There were photos of life with her personal family as well as many of her in action on the court and on the sidelines.

Her jersey was in the room as well as the ball with which she set the NCAA record.

Several collages were on the walls also from her career and life.

There were also photos of the famous confrontation in a free throw shootout against CBS analyst Billy Packer, which occurred several weeks after she set the record.

The next day after Doyle made national headlines, Packer quipped that it should be noted the women used a smaller ball as a response when the achievement was mentioned during a broadcast.

He was scheduled to be in Richmond so a challenge was set up with some 1,200 locals cheering Doyle and she did not disappoint in making all 20 attempts while Packer connected with just 12.

It was all in good fun and both sides enjoyed the experience.

Upon entering Givnish Tuesday night, the attendees were given a prayer card in the form of a ticket. The back had a prayer and the kfront had her picture with the top Sec 6 Row 16 and Seat 69 noting Doyle's date of birth and the bottom Sec 5, Row 9, Seat 14 noting the date of the tragedy.

Also given out was a fold-out set of photos. (All these photos will be at the end of the post.)

Doyle's portrait was on the cover. On the inside were three panels of pictures. The first top to bottom was a picture on the sidelines, then an outdoor shot taken on some trip, and then the photo the university has had on its website with headshots of Lewis and Doyle.

The second panel had a picture of the immediate family, Doyle in action, Doyle confronting referee Bill Titus on the sidelines, and an outdoor shot from another trip.

The third panel at the top might be down the shore with pet doga, and then two pictures from the famous duel with Packer.

The back two pages has Doyle launching a shot and then a passage from an anonymous author.

It was obvious how much Doyle meant to people in the sport by some of the people who made it to the life celebration -- and apologies -- the Guru can't remember everybody.

Richmond coach Michael Shafer, most of the team, and other representatives of the university in general as well as the athletic department, arrived by bus.

WNBA Connecticut Sun coach Anne Donovan, who had Doyle on her staff when she coached at East Carolina, drove down and was driving back the 500 miles round trip the same night and sacrificed missing a tribal dinner with the Mohegans, who own the franchise.

Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb, who was on the same staff at Richmond as Doyle under Joanne Boyle, now at Virginia, flew direct from USA Basketball headquarters in Colorado Springs where she was on the selection committee this past weekend to choose players for the U-17 and U-18 squads.

Yale assistant Lauren Thomer, who also starred at Ryan years after Doyle, and became a good friend, was in the line as was Loyola of Maryland coach Joe Logan.

Locally, Drexel head coach Denise Dillon, associate head coach Amy Mallon, a teammate of Doyle's at Richmond, and Dragons assistant Melissa Dunne, a former Temple star, were in the line as were Delaware coach Tina Martin followed by her assistants Jeanine Radice and Tom Lochner while Rider's Lynn Milligan also came.

Fordham coach Stephanie Gaitley, a former Villanova star who coached Doyle at Richmond, was there with her husband Frank and two of her sisters.

Marie Koch, director of officials for the Atlantic 10, was one of the early arrivals.

Former La Salle coach John Miller, now in charge of girls basketball at Mount St. Joseph's, who taught Doyle in class when he coached the Ryan boys team, attended as did Saint Joseph's director John DiJulia.

Providence coach Susan Robinson Fruchtl, a former Penn State star, arrived aa did her asssociate head coach Dan Durkin, a Philadelphia native who was once head coach at Duquesne and on the staffs of Tonya Cardoza at Temple and Rene Portland at Penn State.

Mike Flynn and Kevin Lynch of the locally based and nationally prominent Blue Star organization attended.

Both, who coached Doyle in AAU, were among a group of coaches who gathered afterwards at Miller's Ale House, a few miles away, to reminisce. Penn coach Mike McLaughlin dropped by the join the group.

All that said, the Guru needs some short sleep before heading to the church and still must try to insert the photos into this blog and you see what time this got posted.

Coverage of Wednesday's tribute will be up at sunrise Thursday.

-- Mel

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Ginny Doyle Tribute 10: Hometown Farewell Begins

(Guru note: Directly below this post is an open-ended invitation to gather at a nearby establishment Tuesday night and continue to celebrate the life of Ginny Doyle.)

By Mel Greenberg

It is now a few days added to two weeks ago when we first learned the tragic news of the horrible balloon accident in Virginia that look the lives of Richmond associate head women's basketball coach Ginny Doyle, a graduate of Archbishop Ryan, operations director Natalie Lewis of Buffalo, N.Y., and the captain Don Kirk.

Since then there has been an outpouring of support nationwide for the families of all three, particular Doyle, who was well known in the basketball community dating back to her exploits as an ace foul shooter at the University of Richmond before becoming part of three different coaching staffs at her alma mater.

She also was on the staff of Hall of Famer Anne Donovan (now coach of the WNBA Connecticut Sun) at East Carolina.

Now the time has come for the official locally-based tributes to Doyle tonight (Tues., May 27) and Wednesday morning.

Doors will open at 7 tonight for the celebration of life and visitation for Ginny at Givnish Funeral Home in Northeast Philadelphia. (Particulars for all events are listed at the end of this post.)

Her brother Joe said there will be many mementos from Ginny's career on display -- her jersey, the ball she set the NCAA record at the time for making 66 straight foul shots, and other remembrances.

The prayer card will be in the form of a basketball ticket with Ginny's picture on it.

Over the last week in this blog, persons who have contributed memories have given all the possible aspects of relationship with Ginny in the basketball world -- life on the same coaching staff, a tribute from a former player, a pair of tributes from coaching colleagues on the recruiting trail, and also one from a former Richmond teammate, who also provided some pictures.

There was also the Guru's own tribute and memories to start the coverage here on the morning after learning the sad news.

They are all in the posts below, most with sequence numbers attached.

"With Ginny being the youngest in the family we kind of lived her basketball life with her," Joe said. "We went to all the games. Many times she would call me when she was going recruiting and say we're going to Allentown or upstate Pennsylvania, almost anywhere.

"I got to meet many people who would otherwise just be names in the news. I remember once at a tournament at Dartmouth we got together afterwards with DePaul coach Doug Bruno and Maggie Dixon, who was on his staff at the time."

At the moment, subject to change, the Guru will write some kind of overview from tonight's events and then another tomorrow after the Mass.

It is likely that several local TV stations, the Associated Press, possibly The Inquirer and other media may be on the scene at Givnish.

Joe says the family has no problem with their presence to talk to people waiting in line, so it is your option whether or not you want to speak when approached, but understand they are not being perceived as intruders.

Your Guru and Mike Flynn of Blue Star also invite you to gether tonight afterwards at Miller's Ale House, details below on a separate blog.

Tomorrow's events at St. Bede in Lower Bucks County begin at 10 a.m. with a private prayer an hour before the Mass gets under way.

The preliminary time will also be for those who didn't get to Givnish, but about 10 minutes before the Mass a family member will offer the eulogy.

The reason is the Catholic Church no longer permits an eulogy as part of the mass because many tend to go long and interfere with the ceremony.

With all that said, here is a repeat of the official funeral notifications so you don't have to hunt a bit back to find the original posting in the blog.

Ginny Doyle Funeral Details

Tuesday, May 27th 7pm-till the last person is thru the line.
Life Celebration; John H. Givnish Funeral Home, 10975 Academy Road, Philadelphia PA 19154 (215) 281-0100.

Wednesday, May 28th Silent Prayer: 10am-11am
Mass: 11am-12 noon: St. Bede the Venerable Roman Catholic Church, 1071 Holland Road, Southampton, PA 18966 (215) 357-5720 .

Please send cards to: Ginny Doyle C/O Raymond Doyle 40 Ronald Drive Holland, PA 18966.

-- Mel

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Ginny Doyle Tribute 10-A: Invite to Gather After Givnish Visitation

By Mel Greenberg

Knowing that many of the out-of-towners and perhaps the locals may want a place to gather following Tuesday night's visitation to the Givnish Funeral Home for the celebration of life for Richmond associate head women's basketball coach and Archbishop Ryan graduate Ginny Doyle, after discussing it with Blue Star's Mike Flynn, we believe the best place to assemble with her spirit among us as we continue to share memories is Miller's Ale House, located on Roosevelt Boulevard by Grant Avenue.

Think of it as a version of Mike's annual Final Four party, though open ended, and as of now we all pony up unless I hear differently, since I haven't talked to Mike since Friday. (Better to say it this way then saying the other and being surprised.)

Miller's, about three miles away, is a giant sports bar establishment, which has a separate room with bar that accomodates 170-200 people. I do not know if it has been claimed by another private party or Mike claimed it, but when dining there last week, the management told me it may not be necessary to claim the room outright and there may be a lot of space anyhow after the dinner crowd leaves.

Plus Tuesday after Memorial Day is expected to be slow.

The kitchen is usually open until 1 a.m.

Since it is part of a shopping strip area, there is a huge and free parking lot surrounding Miller's.

If you are from out of town and haven't claimed a hotel room yet, there is a Four Points right next door, but I don't know the rate or room availabiliy.

About 15 minutes to the North at the end of the boulevard there is a Radisson and then nearby on Street Road there is a Crown Plaza, which puts you closer to St. Bede for Wednesday morning's mass. There is also a Holiday Inn Express and several other hotels on Street Road because of the Parx Casino.

If you want to DM me @womhoopsguru or email poll416@gmail.com that you are likely to stop by, I'll alert the Miller's management to see if they need to get extra bartenders or wait staff, though I will do this only if I see a response that gives the indication for the need.

You also have the option to stop by Miller's on the front end of the night (we suggest 8:30 p.m. is a good time to begin at Miller's given the start time at Givnish) and then get to the funeral home when the line may not be as long.

We will be in communication with someone at Givnish to alert if the line is narrowing down and you haven't been there yet.

Those of you who have really wanted to write something for the ongoing tributes in the blog but have had a hard time getting thoughts together, if you still wish to add something, see me and I can record your memories.

Directions to Miller's from the Givnish Funeral Home

Make a left out of the funeral home or wherever you are parked depending on availability of the lot, head back south on Academy Road and very quickly the Northeast Philadelphia Airport will come up on your right.

Keep going to the very end of the airport and you will reach Grant Ave.

Make a right and head West to Roosevelt Blvd. There will still be a lot of airport to the right, with some facilities in front of it.

After about two miles, a Wawa gas station and store will come up on your left. You are nearing the Boulevard. Start slowing down and get in the left lane.

Several shopping centers will be on your left. The last one just before the boulevard is Grant One -- you should see the sign and you can get in a left turn lane and enter from the back way right by a TDB bank branch.

If you happen to miss it, turn left on the inner southbound lane on the boulevard and the first traffic light you reach allows you to make a u-turn -- it actually leads to another shopping area -- so get to the outside lane to make the left and just past the Four Points is an entrance way to where Miller's is located.

Any problems, you probably know how to find someone.

Hope to see you there.

-- Mel

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Ginny Doyle Tribute IX: A Former Richmond Teammate Remembers The Past

By Mel Greenberg

Here is a memory that just arrived from Ginny Doyle's former Richmond teammate Amy Mallon, who coaches in town here at Drexel. She enclosed some photos that should be obvious though Guru does not have talent to get captions on, but they should be obvious.

Recalling the Good Old Days

I knew Ginny for over 24 years as a teammate at the University of Richmond and friend in the world of coaching.

As a teammate Ginny was a player you always gave the ball to when she was open; simply put…she made shots.

Ginny was a key to us winning the 1991 CAA Championship and receiving a bid to NCAA tournament.

I was so proud of Ginny when she went on to beat Billy Packer when he challenged her to a free throw shooting contest. I knew he was going to lose, and so did everyone else that knew Ginny.

Ginny was not just a tremendous player but a teammate that always made you laugh and could laugh at herself, which is a quality not many have.

The one thing I could always count on when I saw Ginny on the recruiting trail was a good story.

She remembered every little thing that happened on and off the court. It would always begin with…”do you remember when…” and of course it was always followed with laughter.

I will always remember our trip to Ocean City, Md. for a beach week with her brother Joe, my college roommates and UR b-ball teammates.

We had so much fun. It was a week of good times and memories I will never forget.

I feel blessed that I had the opportunity to be part of Ginny’s life and I promise to carry on her legacy.

Amy Mallon
Associate Head Women’s Basketball Coach
Drexel Department of Athletics

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Monday, May 19, 2014

Ginny Doyle Tribute VIII: Reaction From an AAU Sector in Near Washington

By Mel Greenberg

With the Doyle family back in Philadelphia, the Guru had dinner early Sunday evening with Ginny's brother Joe, who spoke of the beginning part of planning for next Tuesday night's visitation/celebration of life at the funeral home followed by the Mass Wednesday morning.

Joe said many basketball items related to Ginny's life will be on display Tuesday night and we both remind you that as opposed to what you read originally, after the doors open at 7 p.m. they will remain as such until the last person has left, however late that may be.

The family is still waiting for final reports from the medical examiner's off and the federal government FAA and NTSB agencies. That could take a while longer.

There was a report that the map the pilot used may not have had an indication of the power line -- Joe said that is what the family had heard -- but that will remain unclarified until the findings are presented.

The latest details involving next week's events here will come in the next blog post involving tributes to Ginny, the Richmond associate head women's basketball coach, who, along with operations director Natalie Lewis, perished, along with balloon captain Dan Kirk, in Virginia a week ago this past Friday after the balloon came in contact with power lines, caught fire and exploded.

That said from this sector, here is another tribute, this one comes from Kathy Gillespie, coach of the U-17 team that is part of the Germantown Lady Panthers AAU organization in Maryland just outside the nation's capital.

Another Person Impacted by Ginny Doyle

I have been reading your blog with all the tributes to Ginny Doyle and wanted to express my sadness at the loss of one of the best coaches and people in our game.

My relationship with Ginny was a bit different than many of those described previously as I am a high school and club coach and got to know Ginny through her recruitment of some of my players.

Ginny did every thing right as a recruiter...she got to know the players and their families, she did her homework, and she was very straightforward.

It is not surprising that Ginny was a great recruiter as she was such a such a funny, engaging and personable individual, she made you want to be a part of her world.

My team was playing in a tournament the weekend that Ginny passed.

A Division III coach who was there watching asked if I had heard about the tragedy, which at that point was not confirmed.

I said it could not be true as Ginny had texted me on Friday afternoon at 2 pm.

Sadly, when we learned that Ginny had died so tragically, I told some of our parents so they could inform their daughters, and all of us felt as if we had been punched in the stomach.

Honestly, it was hard to go onto to the court and play basketball.

I always tell my kids that the value of basketball in their lives is not for the trophies and victories and scholarships won, it is for the people they meet and the relationships they develop.

Ginny was one of those people that made basketball the beautiful game it is for many of us.

She will be missed.

Kathy Gillespie
Germantown Lady Panthers

WNBA Report: Washington Rallies Extinguished in Season-Opening Loss to Minnesota

(Guru's note: Former George Washington star Megan Nipe, who went through her second graduation this past weekend, is joiuning team Guru this summer primarily handling the Washington Mystics with Rob Knox also at times handling games at the Verizon Center in the nation's capital.

Megan was on hand Friday night for the Mystics opener and filed but the Guru, given the amount of ongoing communiation involving last weekend's tragedy in Richmond, indavertently missed the arrival.

Though the defending champion Minnesota Linx moved on to home Sunday and had their own spectacular comeback to beat the Connecticut Sun, the Guru feels you should not be deprived of Megan's debut.

By Megan Nipe

Relentless. That is the Washington Mystics motto for this season, and they wasted no time putting themselves to the test.

For the Mystics home opener, Friday night, they took on the WNBA defending champions, the Minnesota Lynx, whom they swept last season in the two-game cross-divisional contests.

The streak, which was a factor in the Mystics' return to the playoffs, stopped quickly as Minnesota left town with an 89-77 victory by stopping two Washington rallies.

Former UConn star Maya Moore did the primary damage with 34 points, while Seimone Augustus scored 24, and Lindsay Whalen scored 10.

The trio were on the 2012 Olymnpic gold medalists and if the trio returns to the national team this year for the world championship in Turkey they'll have a familiar face because this past week their coach Cheryl Reeve was named to the staff as an assistant to Geno Auriemma.

Damiris Dantas grabbed 12 rebounds.

Meanwhile, Washington got 25 points from former North Carolina star Ivory Latta while another ex-Tar Heel, Tierra Ruffin-Pratt, scored 17 points.

In frontan excited Verizon Center crowd, the Mystics held possession from the opening tip, but early missed jumpers and missed communications on defense hurt.

The Lynx jumped out to an early lead with guard Moore scoring 9 points in only 5 minutes of play.

Mystics’ veteran Monique Currie found herself with two fouls in the first four minutes and headed to the bench early in the first half.

With three minutes to go in the first quarter, the Lynx had found a comfortable lead over the Mystics at 23-8.

Ruffin-Pratt, a second-year player for the Mystics, seemed to be the only scoring threat for Washington in the first quarter with deven points in six minutes of play. For the Lynx, Moore was the one to stop. She poured in 14 points in the first quarter alone.

However, the Mystics seemed to come alive in the second quarter.

Rookie and first-round draft pick Stephanie Dolson out of the two-time defending NCAA champion UConn squad hit the first jumper in her professional career.

Right after her first, came her second… then her third.

The trend of the first half seemed to be that the youngest Mystics were keeping Washington in reach of the defending champs.

With a little over two minutes to go in the second half, the Mystics cut the lead to two points on a pair of free throws from Currie and moments later the former Duke star tied the game on a fast break pass from Latta.

The crowd was on its feet.

The score heading into halftime was 43-39 in favor of Minnesota.

The scoring dominators part way through the third quarter were both from the Lynx: Augustus with 20 points and Moore with 25. However, the Mystics’ Latta reawakened the team in the second half.

Three treys in a row made Latta the only double figure scorer on the Mystics bringing Washington within four points with just over four minutes left in the third quarter.

Moments later, a foul by Pratt on a 3-pointer gave Moore two points on three foul shot attempts.

Better ball movement in the second half gave Washington open 3-pointers and brought Pratt into double figures along with Latta heading into the fourth quarter down three points.

The final quarter started on a high note for Washington.

A quick double-dish from Latta to Dolson to Tianna Hawkins put the Mystics within one, and a missed lay-up by Moore and a 3-pointer by Pratt gave the Mystics its first lead of the game.

Unfortunately, this was the only lead the Mystics would see.

Missed jumpers by the Lynx allowed Washington to stay in the game, but not being able to convert on the other end and unforced turnovers or fouls kept the Mystics from retaining any lead.

Latta and Pratt were the leaders for Washington, as noted at the outset of this report.

but their efforts couldn’t seem to match Moore and Augustus.

Lynx point guard Whalen also had 10 points, as noted in the opening here, but she also grabbed ninerebounds and dealt assists for the night.

Despite multiple comeback attempts, the Mystics weren”t able to overcome the core group of Lynx players that had won the WNBA championship just last summer.

Mystics head coach, Mike Thibault, spoke of the Lynx, noting that “it’s not an accident they’re a championship team.”

He felt as though his players competed but made inexperienced mistakes.

While the team is still in the “developmental” stage, Thibault says that they have to live with some growing pains that come along with having a young team and playing together for the first time.

Washington will take the lessons learned and continue to move forward as they prepare for Friday’s game in Indiana against the Fever before returning here Saturday night to host the Seattle Storm in their first back-to-back games of the season.

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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

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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Guru's Musings: WNBA's Delle Donne Getting Good at Scoring on Conventional Wisdom

( Depending how fast after this post you are visiting, another set of tributes to Ginny Doyle are about to appear shortly above this commentary and reports of the other news of the moment. )

By Mel Greenberg

While former Delaware star Elena Delle Done, the reigning unianimous choice of WNBA rookie of the year from last season, is known as a prolific scorer, there's something else she has become pretty good at -- shooting down conventional wisdom.

When she returned home to her native state after a quick 48-hour stay at powerful Connecticut at the outset of her original collegiate freshmen season in 2008 because of homesickness and a desire to be close to the family, the CW was how can you ever prepare yourself for a life in the pros playing at mid-major Delaware?

Answer: By virtually single-handedly, though it did take some teammate help to make it all work, lifting the Blue Hens into the national rankings, leading them to total domination of the Colonial Athletic Association her junior and senior seasons, and propelling them into two NCAA appearances, the latter of which resulted in a trip to the Sweet 16.

So when it became obvious she was going to be a very high pick in the draft of 2013, the CW crowd said, based on what happened with the UConn experience, how will Elena ever deal with being away from home?

Answer: No problem! Chicago is not all that far away for quick visits, the season is only a summer long, and hey, it is great fun using God-given skills to lead the Sky to a first-ever winning record and initial playoff appearance in seven tries and the regular season Eastern Conference title.

And when the CW crowd heard Delle Donne had no plans to play overseas like a large chunk of the top WNBA stars do to gain large financial augmentation to their American income, the chant was how will she ever improve her game?

And how much rust will she have by being not in a competitive situation all winter?

Well, the WNBA season is under way, and after two straight nights of back-to-back games at home in Chicago Friday and here in Madison Square Garden Saturday night, Delle Donne first led Chicago to a narrow home win over the Indiana Fever, which owned the Sky last season, scoring 23 points, and then followed up here Saturday night in a 79-65 win off an explosive 24-10 fourth quarter by scoring 23 points again, blocking a pair of shots and grabbing a pair of steals.

The performance finished off a week in which she got to make a homecoming appearance at Delaware against the Washington Mystics before a sellout crowd just under 5,000 Tuesday night in Chicago's final preseason game prior to this opening weekend.

At the moment Chicago is without top post star Sylvia Fowles, who may be out rehabbing for a few more weeks, and scorer and Rutgers alum, Epiphanny Prince, who told The Associate Press in an interview Saturday that she asked for and received permission to take some time off after going virtually non-stop year round since her decision to leave the Scarlet Knights after her junior season.

So now Chicago coach Pokey Chatman is using the same strategical language those of us on the Delaware beat heard from Blue Hens coach Tina Martin: basically on offense all roads go through or involve the native of Wilmington.

Considering it takes one great star to know another, here is how Tina Charles, the New York Liberty and former UConn all-American star who has arrived home to her native city after four seasons with the Connecticut Sun, assessed Delle Donne's game following Saturday night's action:

"Elena Delle Donne is going to go down in history as one of the greatest players in the WNBA -- just the way she carries herself on and off the court, you can tell she's always working on her game, she's talking to her teammates, and is well poised -- she's just a great player."

Delaware! Chicago Loves You

So with less than a week in taking the out-of-the-box step in giving Delle Donne a home game before a sellout crowd against the Washington in the Bob Carpenter Center where she had her previous success in high school (Ursuline Academy) and college, what did coach Chatman think of the experience?

"It was tremendous. We were thrilled and I'd love to go back and do it again."

The Sky mentor is not the only one giving kudos to Tuesday night's event at Delaware.

"There were a few little kinks that had to be worked out and adjusted, but that's to be expected when you make that kind of transition from normal venues where WNBA games are played," said Washington assistant coach Marianne Staley, a former Immaculata star who is going to be inducted with all her teammates from the Mighty Macs' golden era into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., on August 7.

"Overall, it was really great. They should do that every year."

Some other WNBA teams have already expressed interest to the Guru in being a Chicago opponent to re-visit the BOB again.

And it could be that Delle Donne could make two homecoming trips next year.

Besides a return visit to the university, the fact that three of the four USA national coaches have ties to Philadelphia -- head coach Geno Auriemma of UConn, assistant coach Cheryl Reeve, of the defending WNBA champion Minnesota Lynx, and South Carolina coach and Philly legend Dawn Staley, a buzz is already building that it would be great for the national team to do a training camp in the City of Brotherly Love after the WNBA season, and perhaps play some kind of game in The Palestra.

"I love the idea of The Palestra," said DePaul coach Doug Bruno, who is a returning USA assistant to Auriemma and the Chicago sheep on the Philly-dominated ataff.

"Yeah, I'd love that," said Reeve in Washington Friday night after she got her defending champions off to a successful start beating the Mystics in the Verizon Center.

It might even be possible for the USA squad to play a collective group of local collegians, considering that in 1996 the year-long run up to the Olympics began in the fall with the Americans playing the top collegiate teams.

Actually, if Delle Donne is on the USA team, the Delaware 5,000-seat venue would not be big enough to house an expected crowd to see the top women's players in the world, making The Palestra or Temple's Liacouras Center the next obvious choice, though the Penn home arena has all those historical ties.

Stay tuned.

OK, N.Y.(mainstream) Media, Now What's the Excuse?

The Guru interrupts the news portion of this blog for the following paid, political rant:

Opening night for the first time in four seasons here Saturday in Madison Square Garden for the Liberty was a major success, even if the homecoming of the WNBA franchise after three summers across the Hudson River at the Prudential Center in Newark, N.J., during the Garden renovation, and the homeconing of Charles, acquired in a draft-day deal with the Connecticut Sun, was ruined by Chicago's victory.

However, besides some players, there was one noticeable absentee or group of them: Where was the locally-based New York media and what's the excuse.

This, by the way, is directed at management, not the ground troops who actually have to go where they are assigned.

For the past three seasons, with the exception for the most part of Newsday, who's Marcus Henry recently paseed away, suddenly, press row was devoid of such print entities as the New York Times (part philosophical reason), Daily News and Post, all of whom were not thrilled to have to travel out of Manhattan to New Jersey to cover the Liberty.

OK, we get that reluctance. We also get the scale back of newsrooms and in some cases changed assignments for sportswriters such as former longtime Daily News beat writer Kristie Ackert, who is now on the major league baseball beat.

But that reason is no longer viable.

OK, you don't have to be there every night.

But 9,000 people are there in the stands loading the place with energy throughout the evening and it seems the arena energy ran into a power failure when it came to the print management.

The one saving grace is that Associated Press national women's basketball writer Doug Feinberg, a colleague of your Guru, by being based in Gotham, is also the local women's writer for the wire service so his excellent copy will serve as a substitute.

But that is not a guarantee that what the AP transmits will be run in full.

So if you want to read the uncut version of Doug's work and boycott the locals at the same time (though thate risks the retort that no one is interested), then go to Yahoo sports.

The preceding section was paid for by Guru enterprises and he approves this message.

WBCA CEO/Executive Director Search Committee Is Selected

Trumpets were not sounded on the latest move to find a successor to former CEO and executive director Beth Bass of the Women's Basketball Coaches Association, but the organization's website does announce the selectees of the search committee.

Former Atlantic Ten comissioner Linda Bruno's head-hunting orgnization that works primarily with athletic departments in filling vacancies was previously announced as the overall guide to aide the search group.

Eight individuals have been chosen: four head coaches, one of which is not at a Division I institution; one conference commissioner and one associate commissioner with a direct tie to the NCAA, one past head coach who is an associate athletic director, and one in-house staffer, who is serving as an ex-officio.

The in-house appointee is Shannon Reynolds, who is serving as interim in the wake of Bass' recent resignation.

The four coaches are Penn State's Coquese Washington, WBCA vice president, who seems is working on a side career move being on committees -- she was on the NCAA search group that reaulted in Anucha Browne'a hire as vice president of women's basketball; past president Doug Bruno of DePaul; South Carolina's Dawn Staley, who is a board member; and the non-Division I coach is Christy Thomascutty of Emory.

Since the appointments, Staley and Bruno were announced to be on the women's national team staff of UConn's Geno Auriemma for this season's World Championship in Turkey in late September.

Colorado associate athletic director Ceal Barry, a past WBCA member and former longtime coach at the university, is serving, as is Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference commissioner Rich Ensor, who is on the WBCA marketing committee.

Big 12 associate commissioner Dru Hancock has been on the NCAA's women's basketball committee and in the fall will become the chair.

A person familiar with the search said all candidates have to apply -- they can't juat have someone toss their name onto the table.

Concept-wise, various coaches in side speculation are suggesting that the hire be youthful and have a business acumen.

For example, a decline in sponsorship in the past year caused the organization to drop the annual high school all-star game at the Women's Final Four.

Some people also feel that having past experience dealing with the WBCA in any capacity would be helpful along with the previous mentioned traits.

One individsual said, whoever the frontrunner becomes, that person needs to have a strong passion for women's basketball, especially if the person doesn't arise from a sector familiar to people.

Felicia Hall Allen, who with her husband Johnny runs the Step Up program for assistant coaches and played for Rutgers' C. Vivian Stringer at Iowa, recently expressed interest in the position.

"That is more my thing," she said. "I think that ia my calling."

Allen was one of the other three finalists in the search that eventually produced Anucha Browne at the NCAA.

Another name getting speculated is Danielle Donehew, in charge of women's basketball at The American conference and previously the former Big East configuration.

She is a native of Atlanta, near the home office of the WBCA, and was once basketball operations director on the staff of Tennessee coach emritus Pat Summit.

Remembering Mary Jo

On the train traveling here Saturday, the Guru missed a call from Gillian Rattray, the former field hockey coach at Penn State who lived in State College with Mary Jo Haverbeck, the longtime women's basketball sports information director for the Lady Lions who died in early January after a brief illness.

Rattray left a note saying she had heard of the recent honors in Haverbeck'a memory, forever thank you and that she herself had moved to what sounded like one of those assisted living communities because she, herself, was not in great health, and that her cell phone was in bad shape so getting calls back or communicating in general was an adventure.

That's all the regular news in a separate post as the ongoing tributes to Ginny Doyle continue on the Guru's blog.

-- Mel

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Saturday, May 17, 2014

Ginny Doyle Tribute VI: Delaware Coach Tina Martin Writes of Fun and Sadness

By Mel Greenberg

Richmond assistant coach Ginny Doyle returned home for the last time Friday escorted by her family, who are now busy preparing for the services after Memorial Day on Tuesday night and Wednesday morning, May 27-28 in the city's Northeast section.

More details, beyond the already posting of times, will come in terms of where out of towners can stay, gather after the Tuesday evening celebration of life, and other information associated with the tribute here.

It is now one week since the horrific event occurred involving the balloon fire and explosion that took the lives of Doyle, operations director Natalie Lewis and the captain Dan Kirk.

But to the many, including the Guru, who knew Doyle, not to exclude the other two from our thoughts and prayers, it has been one long day of sadness over the loss and joy recalling the life.

Over 10,000 page views have come to the Guru's blog, far more than any similar period since its inception in 2005, in the past seven days, though note that the number includes many have come back as each new tribue to Doyle has been posted.

A big reason has been the link from the Richmond athletic department, which enables all of us to share with each other, so thanks to th folks in Virginia.

During this time all divisional lines of life fall by the wayside. Instead of coaches, players, direct relatives, media, university administrators over the entire school or just athletics, we are one big family.

At one point, the Guru considered perhaps a separate blog for the Doyle memories, so as not to mix it in with the normal day-to-day reporting of the women's basketball world.

But then on second thought that would be wrong. That would cast Ginny out of our universe and right now she is still very much a part of it, as she has been through a career dating back to her playing days here at Archbishop Ryan, on to Richmond, and then on to long stay in the coaching profession, primarily at her alma mater with the Spiders.

The Guru brings this up because of a recently arrived tribute from a long-time Doyle friend and colleague in Delaware coach Tina Martin.

There are a few other tributes that have arrived but considering this is WNBA start-up weekend, those will go up in the next day as all of them become our internet version of an eternal flame to burn forever in our hearts.

So what follows is Tina's tribute, which, because it came as a text message (good thing the Guru can meet the challenge of technology to figure out how to change text sentences into email and then back into the blog format) will sound at the outset as a note to me, but it is really to share among all of you:

Tina Martin's Tribute


I know you have been doing the blog for Ginny Doyle.

I have really struggled with her passing.

It was such a shock for me and my heart is broken for her family.

We went to amusement parks, baseball games and movies.

She was such a fun person to be around.

Ginny had a great sense of humor and we could laugh for hours about silly things.

She was a caring compassionate person with great integrity.

We had fun together just hanging out watching television or going to dinner.

She loved to tell stories! Whenever I passed through Richmond I always had a friend to stay with and go to dinner with it was a given!

Like wise when she came through Delaware she always had a place to stay as well.

As you can imagine it has been a struggle of emotions for everyone who knew Ginny well.

One minute I am laughing at her stories as they go through my mind and the next tears are streaming down my face.

I will hold close to my heart many great memories of our friendship.

She was an amazing person and friend. My thoughts and prayers are with her family!

Thank you.


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Friday, May 16, 2014

Ginny Doyle Tribute V: The Thrill of Coaching

By Mel Greenberg

This was the start of a text conversation Ginny Doyle had with the family over her excitment attending Step Up.

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Thursday, May 15, 2014

Ginny Doyle Tribute IV: The Last Thank You(s) From a Coach Plying Her Trade

( Guru's Note: Before presenting today's ongoing coverage, since Ginny's brother Joe and myself know each other well, I've been helping them getting a handle of things in terms of getting information to the public beyond the reporting nature of things from this side.

And the big thing is to try to determine the potential size of the crowd for both the life celebration Tuesday night and the mass on Wednesday, the two days after Memorial Day here in Philadelphia (the Northeast portion of the city).

This will aide in determining hotels to recommend for out of towners, a place we could gather Tuesday, as well as accomodating media coverage from beyond yours truly, etc.

The Doyles think they have an idea of who is immediate in the count of the the individual family, and close friends.

But, of course, then it begins to blend with the larger basketball family, many who might be close with Ginny but they don't know. So, however anyone wants to be on hand to celebrate her life:

A request survey from me went out through selected conferences a little while ago (530 am which is now more than a little while ago but time has basically been frozen except for other real events) to get things started.

But your Guru doesn't want to leave anyone out of the mix so if you are a Division II or Division III coach or however you are connected and plan to be here or plan to also bring some assistants, or you are just a civilian who follows the blog, you get the idea, just email me at poll416@gmail.com with Ginny Funeral in the subject line and say whether you are coming Tuesday night or Wednesday morning or both with just a short note, unless you are communicating beyond with me for whatever you need or question answered.

No need to say you are not coming.

This will help identified the number. My email is poll416@gmail.com. Feel free to relay this precede to people you think want to know of the request. Thanks.

By Mel Greenberg

Over the last several days Ginny's brother Joe has shared a lot of information with me and he told me one story that he felt you all should know.

A week ago Ginny attended the Step Up conclave for coaching staffs beyond the head coach positions in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

The event is run by Felicia Hall Allen (who played for C. Vivian Stringer at Iowa) and her husband Johnny.

Incidentally, several persons have mentioned that she might be a good candidate for the vacant CEO job at the Women's Basketball Coaches Association.

In fact, Mike Flynn of Blue Star, one of the speakers at the event, has told of sitting across from Ginny at a restaurant with a bunch of people afterwards and having an extensive conversation about the profession and openings.

The organization is described at their website as: Step Up (Athletic Symposium to Elevate Professionals & Uplift Performance) is a career building and professional development opportunity for men’s and women’s college basketball assistant coaches, developed by the husband and wife team of Felicia and Johnny Allen.

Its’ mission is to help assistant coaches gain knowledge, develop strategies and techniques, as well as network with some of the best coaches in the industry to help them reach their full potential. The inaugural symposium was held in Atlanta, Georgia in 2010.

To learn more about step up, the website url is http://feliciahallallen.com.

The Guru thinks he sees Ginny in one of the pictures in the slide show at the site of last week's event.

That said, to return to this discussion, after the hot air balloon accident, when Joe went to get Ginny's car, her backpack was on the rear seat.

And inside were a stack of evenlopes, some all sealed and ready to be mailed, and others all addressed but still to be stuffed with notes of thank yous that she had assembled together to finish the process to communicate with those she had met.

Richmond University officials mailed the ones set to go over the weekend (the Guru thought it was a good idea) but one of Joe's sources gave him a list of who was mailed and who was about to be mailed and we thought you all should know.

First, here's the list of thank you's that were mailed:

These were mailed as they were written, addressed, stamped and sealed.

1. Carol Owens, Associate Head Coach University of Notre Dame. (Guru's aside: Carol won the major award -- the first ever -- as the top assistant in the nation for the past year.)
2. Boo Williams, AAU Coach
3. Latisha Luckett, Assistant Coach Claflin University
4. Julie Kaufman, Assistant Coach Seton HillUniversity
5. Charlton “C.Y.” Young, Assistant MBB Coach Florida St.
6. Maren Walseth, Head Coach North Dakota State University, recently hired from assistant at Penn State.

Joe's words next. These are the folks she had envelopes writing out to... (and you were right they are already stamped!)….but no insert written yet. She was so efficient:

Kelly Bond-White, Texas A&M WBB;
Johnny Allen, Felicia Hall Allen & Associates;
Felicia Hall Allen (from the same firm);
Kelly Mehrtens, Deputy AD-Maryland;
Pete Garcia, Executive Director-Sports and Entertainment –Florida International;
Joe Tartamella, Head Coach-St. John’s;
Bob Starkey, assistant at Texas A&M WBB;
Sean O’Regan, Associate Head Coach-JMU;
Katie O’Connor, Asst Coach-Kansas;
Robert Mosley Asst Coach-Georgia;
Tasha McDowell, Asst Coach –Cincinnati;
George Washington (his real name), Asst Coach-Texas;
Travis May, Associate Head Coach-Texas;
Katie Abrahamson-Henderson, Head Coach-Albany;
LeAnn Freeland, Head Coach-Nova Southeastern University; Mike Flynn, Blue Star Office;
Al Brown, Asst Coach-Duke

That is all on this report. The Guru right now plans to be at opening WNBA action in Connecticut Friday and New York's home opener Saturday against Chicago after playing at Connecticut.

The Guru plans to have operatives at the Washington game hosting Minnesota Friday night.

-- Mel

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Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Ginny DoyleTributes: Philly Funeral Arrangements

By Mel Greenberg

Here are the funeral arrangements in Philadelphia for Ginny Doyle as released just now from the family :

Tuesday, May 27th 7pm-till the last person is thru the line.
Life Celebration; John H. Givnish Funeral Home, 10975 Academy Road, Philadelphia PA 19154 (215) 281-0100.

Wednesday, May 28th Silent Prayer: 10am-11am
Mass: 11am-12 noon: St. Bede the Venerable Roman Catholic Church, 1071 Holland Road, Southampton, PA 18966 (215) 357-5720 .

Please send cards to: Ginny Doyle C/O Raymond Doyle 40 Ronald Drive Holland, PA 18966.

In lieu of flowers, and at anytime, donations can be made to The Ginny Doyle Memorial Fund, University of Richmond, 28 Westhampton Way, Robins Center, Richmond, VA 23173.

-- Mel

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Guru's WNBA Report: Delle Donne's Homecoming Becomes Another Win At Delaware

Guru's note: This is the Chicago in-house report since the Guru needed some quick rest following ongoing coverage of the Richmond tragedy. He has been talking to Ginny Doyle's brother Joe who said the family is touched by the outpouring and will send philly funeral details as soon as they get the signoff.

Also look at longtime Wilmington News Journal Delaware sportswriter Kevin Tresolini's coverage at Delawareonline.com of Tuesday's preseason game until the Guru does a quick re-charge. The Guru will be back in this space early Wednesday afternoon.


The Chicago Sky defeated the Washington Mystics 76-69 inside the sold out Bob Carpenter Center at the University of Delaware on Tuesday night. From the moment the ball was tipped the crowd was electric and the Sky were in attack mode.

Chicago grabbed the lead scoring the first basket of the game and never trailed the remainder of the first half. Former Colonial Athletic Association standouts Elena Delle and Tamera Young started the game feeling right at home at the University of Delaware's Bob Carpenter Center (Bob).

Elena Delle Donne, who has played at the "Bob" since eight grade, scored seven points early on, including the first two points of the game, to help the Sky jump out to a 17-6 lead in the first six minutes of play.

Tamera Young, who played at the "Bob" frequently when she was at James Madison University was able to deliver a quick four points as well.

At one point early in the second quarter the Sky led by as many as 16 points. The Mystics simply could not figure out a way to stop the Sky's balance scoring. After struggling from the field against the Lynx on Sunday afternoon in Orlando, Chicago was more assertive on the offensive end. In the first half the Sky scored 22 points in the paint and did not attempt a single shot beyond the three-point arch.

"I think we really wanted to focus on our start because we struggled in the first quarter of the last game," said Chicago Sky point guard Courtney Vandersloot. "I think just attacking and getting to the free throw line really gave us a good boost and set the tone for the rest of the game."

Courtney Vandersloot had started the game with an attack mentality and turned in an early eight points and five assists to help the Sky stretch the lead to 31-18 midway through the second quarter. With the Sky's offense clicking on all cylinders the Mystics were unable to find any kind of rhythm in the first half. The Sky had eight assists in the first half to take the lead 41-33 going into the locker room.

Vandersloot and Delle Donne showed off their offensive chemistry to start the third quarter.

"She (Delle Donne) is a point guard's dream," said Vandersloot. "You can give her the ball at any time and she's going to be successful."

Vandeerlsoot opened the quarter with a thread the needle pass to set up Delle Donne in stride to score in transition.

On the ensuing possession the dynamic duo used a series of passes back-and-forth to freeze the Mystic defenders allowing Vandersloot to knock in a wide-open shot on the right wing. Vandersloot finished the game with a career-high 11 assists and 15 points to record her first double double of the year.

Washington's veteran backcourt of Ivory Latta and Kara Lawson slowly plugged away at the Sky's lead in the third quarter. With three minutes left in the third quarter Latta had 15 points and Monique Currie hit a three-pointer at the top of the key to tie the game 49-49.

With 1:36 left in the third quarter the Mystics took their first lead of the game. The two teams battle back and forth to close the quarter with eight lead changes before Delle Donne knocked down a fade-away jumper as time expired on the clock to regain the lead 57-56 heading into the fourth.

Sky forward Jessica Breland had a breakthrough performance and stepped up at key moments to help the Sky close the game. She finished the game with 14 points, 9 rebounds, and 3 blocked shots.

The game was kept within four points through an exciting fourth quarter before Delle Donne sank a shot inside the lane to put the Sky up five with 31.9 seconds remaining.

Washington called a timeout and Kayla Thornton answered with a two point basket to pull the Mystics back to within three points. Chicago inbounded the ball to Vandersloot who was immediately fouled and knocked down two free throws.

The Mystics hurried down the court to try for a quick two but Delle Donne met Tierra Ruffin-Pratt at the rim to defend her home court and the secure a Chicago Sky victory in front of the Delaware faithful. Delle Donne finished the game with 17 points, 10 rebounds and 3 blocked shots.

"It was nice to see us get a lead, lose it, get a lead, lose it and respond to some things," said Sky Head Coach Pokey Chatman. "For us the biggest thing I liked was the fact that we were plus 16 on the boards."

The Sky outrebounded the Mystics 46-28. The Chicago Sky will look to continue their dominance on the boards and momentum from tonight's victory as they begin their ninth season as a member of the WNBA's Eastern Conference on Friday, May 16, 2014 against the Indiana Fever.

The game features a rematch of last year's playoff series and one of the most-storied Eastern Conference rivalries. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. CT at Allstate Arena. The game will broadcast on The U Too.

Postgame Notes

Chicago Sky 76, Washington Mystics 69
Bob Carpenter Center (University of Delaware)

May 13, 2014

. Courtney Vandersloot delivered a career-high 11 assists. She now has 485 career assists and will need 22 more assists to take over as the Sky's all-time assists leader.

· Two Sky players recorded double doubles. Elena Delle Donne finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds while Courtney Vandersloot contributed 15 points to go with her 11 assists.

· The Sky did not have a three-point field goal attempt during the first half and only shot one three-pointer during the entire game.

· With 46 rebounds the Sky tied their single-game record for most total rebounds. The last time the Sky recorded 46 rebounds was on June 9, 2013 against Connecticut.

· Forward Jessica Breland had a breakout performance with 14 points, 9 rebounds and 3 blocked shots.

· The Sky led by 16 points at one point during the game and led the entire first half.

· Tonight's game featuring the Chicago Sky and Washington Mystics was the first-ever WNBA game played in Delaware.


Chicago Sky Guard/Forward Elena Delle Donne

(On what she felt coming into tonight's game...)

"These fans are so awesome. It was exciting. Obviously you're a little nervous you want to put on a good show for everybody but it was still an incredible night."

(On what she wants to do this season to build off last season…)

"As you can see we're a brand new team. We don't have many returners so I really need to be a leader this season for the team. Pokey and I have really been talking about that…to just be more of a vocal leader. Obviously I try to lead by example but the vocal part is going to come like it did at Delaware."

(On the Delaware faithful…)

"I don't know how they still remember me so well (laughter). I guess I'm doing well with social media and keeping them involved. They're so phenomenal and I'm seeing faces that I saw in eighth grade and it's incredible that they've followed me this long."

Chicago Sky Head Coach Pokey Chatman

(On her experience in Delaware…)

"The minute we planted the seed to come here everyone has just been so welcoming…It's just nice to see everything come to fruition."

(On pulling out the close-margin victory…)

"It was nice to see us get a lead, lose it, get a lead, lose it and respond to some things. For us the biggest thing I liked was the fact that we were plus 16 on the boards."

(On the feeling inside the Bob Carpenter Center tonight…)

"It was fun…It was just nice obviously for both teams…a great environment."

Chicago Sky Guard Courtney Vandersloot

(On mindset going into tonight's game in Delaware…)

"I think we really wanted to focus on our start because we struggled in the first quarter of the last game and I think just attacking and getting to the free throw line just really gave us a good boost and set the tone for the rest of the game."

(On her on-court chemistry with Elena Delle Donne…)

"She is a point guard's dream. You can give her the ball anytime and she's going to be successful."

(On what the team will take from this win heading into Friday's regular season opener…)

"It gave us one of those grind-out win games. We were a little bit inconsistent but we got stops when we needed to and that's huge. Making plays down the stretch to keep the lead was huge too and to get that experience heading into the regular season will help us."

Chicago Sky Forward Jessica Breland

(On finding her rhythm in tonight's game…)

"I was just attacking and not thinking about things, just playing. I think I'm getting more comfortable with the team. They believe and I believe in myself as well."

(The biggest asset she can bring to this team…)

"Bringing more length to the team, energy and just the 'glue stuff.' The stuff that doesn't really show up on the stats sheet but that something that could really glue a team together."

Washington Mystics Head Coach Mike Thibault

(On his team's performance tonight…)

"I'm very disappointed with the start by our starters. I'm very disappointed with our rebounding. If we don't start getting better on the boards we're going to struggle. It's been a point of emphasis the last couple of days but it didn't make it better.

We've got to decide on a post rotation and who is going to rebound the ball and go after it. I think that's going to make or break our season and people know it and they're going to go after us."

Washington Mystics Guard Ivory Latta

(On her thoughts following tonight's loss…)

"I think we played well down the stretch. The second half was much better defensively. We definitely need to rebound the ball way better than we did the first three preseason games and I definitely know coach is going to correct that in practice."

Guru's quick add: Delle Donne said she saw the same faces she has scene since eighth grade playing in the Bob Carpenter Center.

Will be back in a few hours.

-- Mel

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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Tribute to Ginny Doyle III: Two More Fond Memories

Guru's note: This is a combo post that also includes what would be the normal Guru news of the day along with the ongoing tributes to Richmond associate head coach Ginny Doyle, who died in the balloon accident in Virginia over the weekend along with operations director Natalie Lewis and the balloon captain Dan Kirk.

By Mel Greenberg

Melissa Jackson, a former player of Ginny Doyle at Richmond who now is associate head coach at Akron in Ohio, sent a remembrance Monday, which is the main posting item of this blog.

As you will see in the memory, Jackson's first coaching job was under Tina Martin at Delaware in large part due to a call on Jackson's behalf from Doyle.

Another tribute just arrived to get on board here right now from Lauren Thomer, another Ryan Hall of Famer from Philadelphia who is an assistant at Yale, and there is no deadline if anyone else is contemplating. This is our way of holding our own internet tribute service.

First, some updates of related news.

The twitter @womhoops, the guru's account, has a link to the Philadelphia Daily News obituary in Monday's edition.

The Guru also saw some report but hasn't seen anything since that claimed it is possible that the balloon captain had a map that did not have the location or existence of the power lines the balloon came in contact that created the ensuing fire and explosion.

There are also retweets to links of statements from both the Lewis and Doyle families and notice of a service at Richmond Wednesday morning at 10 a.m. with a larger tribute to be held this fall.

Ginny's brother Joe and myself are in written contact and he appreciates your outpouring as evidence by the one-day Guru site record of 2,149 page views on the 24-hour cycle through 8 p.m. Monday night.

Counting from the Guru's first posting till then there were 3350 views and since 400 existed prior to the post in the previous cycle, that makes a two-day mark of 3700 and I see the number is once again way ahead of the recent paces at this hour.

"This shows just how much Ginny was loved by everybody," Lauren said Monday when the Guru was noting the interest in a conversation.

Joe will communicate what they want you to know in terms of the official memorials as a backstop through the Guru if you don't see information at other places.

Incidentally, the Guru didn't mention in the previous blog, the site of the Atlantic 10 meetings, which is at Fort Meyers, Fla.

Also, the WBCA sent a condolence note out Monday afternoon. The search will soon be underway for the successor to longtime CEO Beth Bass, who recently resigned.

Right now, applications are being taken and the search committee is being assembled with former Atlantic 10 commissioner Linda Bruno handling the oversight in terms of her consulting company being hired by the WBCA to spearhead the search.

Another UConn Grad Shipped Out by the Sun

Also, with the WNBA Connecticut Sun releasing Kalana Greene Monday to get down to roster size for this weekend's openers, this is now a franchise high of jettisoning two UConn alums in waiving Greene and executing the draft day trade that sent Tina Charles to the Liberty in her native New York.

Philly Folks Head USA Basketball Squad Coaching Staff

On two brighter notes here, the USA Basketball National women's team staff for the World Championship this fallbin Turkey is now a Philadelphia affair with one Chicagoan in the mix.

Monday's USA Basketball announcement (the Guru had them all on the short list) of Geno Auriemma's staff has South Carolina coach Dawn Staley and WNBA Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve, making them the Philly trio, with Doug Bruno of DePaul returning to make him the Chicagoan in the quartet.

This also marks a change in formula with just one WNBA coach in the group instead of the 50-50 split of recent staffs.

Staley, a longtime USA star as a player, was an assistant to Anne Donovan on the 2008 Gold Medalists and Reeve makes her first appearance. If continuity is the new word of the day in Colorado Springs, unless Auriemma is back again or the current quest in the next two major international affairs fall short, you can pencil Staley or Reeve in for 2020 as frontrunners for head coach, though it is not necessarily in stone.

Delle Donne's Homecoming Night Has Arrived

Tuesday night Chicago plays Washington in a preseason game at Delaware in a sellout or should be at that hour for what is Elena Delle Donne's homecoming one year after heading off to the pros with Chicago and becoming the unanimous choice for rookie of the year.

An aside: Though the Bob Carpenter Center at Delaware seats 5,000, slightly more than that showed up in nearby Wilmington Saturday night at Blue Rocks minor league baseball game for a bobblehead doll handout of former Delaware guard Kayla Miller, who was one of the passers to Delle Donne and is currently in the summer affilated with the Blue Rocks.

As a disclaimer to the WNBA extravaganza, the Guru's only role across last summer was to get everybody talking to each other (think Kevin Spacey, House of Cards :) ) -- but it is happening because coach Pokey Chatman, the Chicago front office and owner Michael Alter, Washington coach Mike Thibault, and Delaware athletic director Eric Ziady and the Blue Hens' operations and marketing people did the heavy lifting to make an idea into reality.

How about 11 corporate partners signing on and that was without Delaware alum Joe Biden, the vice president of the United States, doing any arm twisting.

In concert, credit Delaware coach Tina Martin who put together an exciting product during the Delle Donne era (and did an oustanding job after all the graduation departures before last season) that made Tuesday night an easy sell.

The Guru will be tweeting from courtside. If you want to listen on the radio, look for a link from Monday on the Guru's acount retweeting Christine Koren Motta, the former Blue Hens player and assistant who is the radio analyst during the winter and will be on the local radio broadcast from the game.

Her day job is a career counselor at Delaware.

Having said all that and getting back to the serious stuff, but in joyous celebration, in honoring Ginny Doyle's life, here's are latest remembrance from Melissa Jackson and Lauren Thomer, with more to come.

A Former Player's Memory

I was fortunate to have Coach Doyle as my college coach for four years. She recruited me out of high school and she was by far one of the best recruiters.

I really connected with her throughout the recruiting process.

Her genuine personality and strong love for everything Philly were probably the main reasons why. I was from Hazleton, a small coal mining town, on the outskirts of the Poconos in upstate Pennsylvania on the Eastern side of the state.

Coach Doyle would always make comments about the town over from mine, MacAdoo.

Saying how it was so tiny it only had one traffic light and if you blinked you would miss it. Her family had a lake house near there and she would always make reference to that as well as the awesome italian water ice place that wasn't too far away.

While I was at Richmond I was part of the coaching change that took place between Bob Foley and Joanne Boyle.

I remember when the change happened and the level of uncertainty myself and my teammates had.

I also remember the joy we had when Joanne Boyle told us Coach Doyle would be staying on as an assistant coach. We were so happy! She was a great coach who had great pride for Richmond, and to have her stay gave us a level of comfort. We all had great relationships with her.

There are many memories of Coach Doyle but I will mention a few that really stand out.

I remember trips to St. Joes and LaSalle. Not so much for the wins or losses, but how after every Philly game Coach Doyle's family would have Philly Pretzels waiting for our team.

I remember my roommate/teammate, Amber Goppert, and I always challenging Coach Doyle to shooting games.

Not only did she talk a good game, but she backed it up. We would call her "Dead-Eye Doyle" a nickname she got from her FT challenge against Billy Packard.

Our favorite shooting game was "7 Up" a 3pt game that I still use with my players today.

Joanne always had great team bonding activities with teammates and even coaches.

One tradition we had was for a coach to spend some time with a player that they don't always interact with on a daily basis.

Coach Doyle was not my position coach at the time (she had the posts). So we got matched up. I remember our meeting so vividly, we went to Starbucks on an off day.

I was a senior and I was stressing out on what I was going to do after graduation.

Anyone who knew Coach Doyle would agree she was the funniest person ever! She was so sarcastic and witty, I could not stop laughing.

She had the great ability to always make you feel comfortable and make light of anything. She eased any stress I had that day and made my stomach ache from all the laughter.

Lastly, I am forever grateful to Coach Doyle for helping me land my first job in college coaching.

She was good friends with the Delaware staff and they had a position open in 2004.

It is really rare to obtain an assistant job right out of college.

But she made a call for me and it resulted in my first interview. That interview then led to four great years at Delaware. I know that if it wasn't for her I would have never had that opportunity and ultimately would not be where I am today.

Thanks Coach Doyle! Forever a Spider!

Memories From A Former Ryan Star: Lauren Thomer

Shortly after I took the position at Yale, George Deal, longtime assistant basketball coach for both the boys and girls at Archbishop Ryan High School, encouraged me to reach out and get to know Ginny Doyle.

George mentioned that Chris Mooney, Head Men's Basketball Coach at Richmond and Ginny were both Ryan grads, good friends, and great coaches down at UR.

Ginny and I were the only two Ryan grads in the Women's Division-1 coaching ranks and our paths quickly crossed on the recruiting trails.

Talented post players, especially those with strong academic profiles, are not easy to come by and I found myself sitting next to Ginny at games in the coming months.

Our friendship blossomed quickly because of our history and interests - both Philly natives with a love for country music and spending time in Virginia (I spent 2 years at UVA for graduate school).

I took to Ginny immediately and was struck by our connection, how easy she was to talk to, and her knack for recruiting.

We got to talking one time about hosting elite camps.

Her strategy one year was to have a small, intimate setting with about 15 recruits and take them through a "game day scenario."

She talked about giving the campers a scouting report, giving them a true glimpse of what a college game day would look like.

"Wow!! My first thought would be to cancel the camp. We don't have enough kids," I told her.

"Who does a camp like that? Everyone else in America does the same thing - play 50 games and stations!!!"

It was then that I realized how talented and creative she was, how she was able to "think outside the box", and take what could initially be a negative situation and turn it into an amazing experience for the young campers and a special recruiting tool for Richmond.

(She got one of the post players we wanted from that camp, by the way.)

We often kept in touch through twitter and text.

"Been to any good concerts lately?" she would ask. I would reply back with a "YES! Florida Georgia Line at a county fair - we were 20 feet from the stage - unreal! Can't wait for Nashville!"

A few weeks ago, we met up at the Final Four in Nashville at one of the parties that was hosted at the Honky Tonk Central.

Live music was playing and I was waving at her from across the bar to come over!

We spent the next few hours laughing, telling stories, trying to coordinate how we could "time it" so that we could both get back to Philly and catch a Phillies game and maybe the Jason Aldean concert out there.

I also asked her to help me get the Alumni game and the Girls Basketball Hall of Fame banquet going at Ryan. She wanted to help in anyway she could.

I had to catch an early flight the next morning out of Nashville, but Ginny and I ended up talking til 3:45 in the morning!!

She was telling her story - everything - and joked how she loved being from Philly, but would probably never move back. She loved the south too much. She loved Richmond too much!

As much as she loved and remained loyal to Richmond, she felt her Head Coaching opportunity was right around the corner.

We talked about her journey to find the right fit and that it was only a matter of time.

As we parted ways and I walked back to my hotel I said to myself, "She is FREAKING AWESOME. I could definitely see myself working for Ginny someday. I love what she stands for!"

One of the special things about coaching and the game itself is that we get to meet and cross paths with some incredible people.

Ginny was one of those people!

She had such a nice way about her, but still had a bit of the Philly grit and competitive fire that comes from growing up playing in the Philadelphia Catholic League!!

She was just SO REAL!

I looked up to Ginny, saw her as a mentor and a friend, and feel it was a blessing that Ryan, and George Deal, and both Yale and Richmond's academic standards brought us together.

Ginny truly touched my life!!!

I know her legacy and her positive spirit will live on in all of us that she touched!

May God Bless her, Natalie, and their families. We will miss you Ginny!

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