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March 18, 2014
UNIVERSITY PARK, PA. - The late Mary Jo Haverbeck, former Associate Sports Information Director of Penn State University, is the winner of the 2014 Women's Basketball Coaches Association's (WBCA) Mel Greenberg Media Award, the WBCA announced today.
Named after Mel Greenberg, the Philadelphia Inquirer sportswriter who founded the Associated Press Top 25 women's basketball poll, the WBCA's Mel Greenberg Media Award is presented annually to a member of the media who has best displayed a commitment to women's basketball and to advancing the role of the media in the women's game. Selected by past recipients of the award, the candidate must have had a positive impact on the growth and national or regional exposure of the sport, been involved in the media exposure of women's basketball for a minimum of five years and should be a media ambassador for the women's game. Greenberg, the pre-eminent name in women's basketball coverage, was named the winner of the inaugural award in 1991.
"I am pleased to announce the late Mary Jo Haverbeck as this year's recipient of the WBCA Mel Greenberg Media Award," said WBCA CEO Beth Bass. "Mary Jo worked relentlessly promoting the game of women's basketball and her excitement and passion for the game could be seen in her life's work."
Haverbeck, who passed away in January, earned several lifetime achievement honors from the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) for her work in the field of athletic communications. She was the first woman inducted into the CoSIDA Hall of Fame in 1995 and in 2001 she received the organization's inaugural Trailblazer Award. Additionally, in 2000 Haverbeck was the first female to garner the Arch Ward Award, which is presented to a member of CoSIDA who has made an outstanding contribution to the field of college sports information or has brought dignity and prestige to the profession.
The Wilmington, Del. native began her career in sports information in the late 1960's as a volunteer before eventually serving as an associate sports information director at Penn State from 1974 until 1999 when she retired. Haverbeck was the first Penn State official to publicize the university's women's sports programs. She served on multiple CoSIDA committees and held high profile positions in the Association for Women in Sports Media (AWSM), as well as with the Female Athletic Media Relations Executives (FAME). Haverbeck also was a long-time member of the NCAA Women's Final Four media coordination committee. Furthermore, she worked as a press officer for the U.S. Olympic Committee in 1981 and 1983 before working as a press operations manager for the Atlanta Committee for the 1996 Olympic Games.
Following her retirement, Haverbeck continued to be involved with Penn State teaching news writing and reporting classes. She also wrote for usatoday.com and the Harrisburg Patriot News.
Haverbeck will be formally recognized during the WBCA Awards Show, which will be held at 5:30 p.m. CT Monday April 7, in the Omni Nashville Hotel's Broadway Ballroom. This event is part of the WBCA National Convention and is held in conjunction with the NCAA® Women's Final Four® in Nashville.
As the 24th winner of the award, Haverbeck joins a distinguished list of recipients, including: Vicki Friedman, Freelance writer (2013); Mike Carmin, Lafayette (Ind.) Journal and Courier (2012); Carol Stiff, ESPN (2011); Dick Patrick, USA Today (2010); Chuck Schoffner, Associated Press (2009); Dan Fleser, Knoxville News-Sentinel (2008); Debbie Antonelli, CSTV (2007); Bill Jauss, Chicago Tribune (2006); Dave Loane, University of Illinois (2005); Tam Flarup, University of Wisconsin-Madison (2004); Mechelle Voepel, Kansas City Star/ESPN (2003); Bob Kenney, Courier Post (2002); Robin Roberts, ABC News (2001); Vic Dorr, Richmond Times-Dispatch (2000); Ann Meyers Drysdale, ESPN (1999); Mary Garber, Winston-Salem Journal (1998); the late Mitch Parkinson, Southern Illinois University (1997); Debby Jennings, University of Tennessee (1996); the late Mike Augustin, St. Paul Pioneer Press (1995); Mimi Griffin, MSG Promotions/ESPN (1994); Jane Burns, Des Moines Register (1993); Debbie Becker, USA TODAY (1992); and Mel Greenberg, Philadelphia Inquirer (1991).
About the WBCA:
Founded in 1981, the Women's Basketball Coaches Association promotes women's basketball by unifying coaches at all levels to develop a reputable identity for the sport and to foster and promote the development of the game as a sport for women and girls. For more information on the WBCA, please visit wbca.org.