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Vol. 51, No. 4 • May 2014 • .pdf version
Mary Jo Haverbeck Award joins women's lineup
NASHVILLE – The format instituted last season in moving the USBWA women's awards to the NCAA arena interview room several hours before the semifinals proved once again successful.
Some tweaking might still be in order in that most of the winners had games to be played and thus stand-ins on site accepted or psuedo presentations without the hardware were made on Saturday during the locker room sessions.
But one of the two highlights involved an award to join the lineup next season in Tampa.
The Mary Jo Haverbeck Award will be similar to the Katha Quinn Award on the men's side, with the same purpose – to be given to someone from the women's hoops world who gives service to USBWA or a sports media individual covering the women's game.
There was an intent to do this several years ago, when we began putting names on trophies beginning with the Ann Meyers-Drysdale player of the year and the Pat Summitt Most Courageous Award.
The plan was delayed as we tried to find a way to get Mary Jo, the longtime Penn State women's basketball SID, to the finals so that we could surprise her. A longtime USBWA member, Mary Jo also worked with the NCAA's Rick Nixon's media liaison staff at the finals.
Unfortunately, Mary Jo came ill in late November and passed away at age 74 on Jan. 6, resulting in much homage paid to her pioneering and visionary work as one of the early women to work in sports information.
Special thanks to Jim O'Connell and Malcolm Moran, who spent much time with Mary Jo when he was at Penn State. The two, who founded the Katha Quinn honor, were on board with the concept.
At the Women's Final Four, the Women's Basketball Coaches Association's Mel Greenberg Media Award went to Mary Jo and was accepted by Penn State coach Coquese Washington. Previously, CoSIDA announced that Mary Jo's name will be on its Trailblazer Award.
In making the announcement of the new USBWA award, remarks were made by retired ESPN executive Rosa Gatti, a contemporary when Gatti was at Villanova as an SID, and Barb Kowal, CoSIDA's director of external affairs.
"What an amazing individual. She was a visionary," Gatti said. "She was a sports PR person, a journalist, a professor. She was such an advocate for women's basketball, women's sports and people. She leaves such a legacy. She holds the record for people mentored. It is fitting this award is named for her."
Kowal then spoke, saying, "We know Mary Jo is smiling down on us right now."
Connecticut athletic director Warde Manuel and senior associate athletic director Deb Corum accepted the Meyers-Drysdale award for Breanna Stewart. Notre Dame's Muffett McGraw repeated as coach of the year.
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