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Vol. 57, No. 2 • January 2020 • .pdf version
Wendy Parker: A pioneer for women's coverage
Early in the 1989-90 season, yours truly received a phone call from Malcolm Moran. He had been elected USBWA president and thought the time was right for our organization to have a women's division. He said he knew the perfect person to oversee its operation.
No problem. Great idea. Glad to serve.
A few days later, the phone rang again – "Hi. My name is Wendy Parker. I work at the Atlanta Journal Constitution and I'm starting a women's beat for them and was told by people that you could help me with people to contact and I have a few story ideas."
And so began a wonderful three-decades personal working friendship, and in the process, a blessing to help the USBWA grow Malcolm's ambition to give women's basketball its due.
With great pride, we welcome Wendy to join yours truly as the second person to earn USBWA Hall of Fame recognition primarily for their work in women's basketball.
It was a wonderful idea to choose Wendy in this particular year, when she can be honored in her own town of Atlanta, where the Final Four and the annual USBWA awards program will be held.
And since it is possible, we are working on the logistics of also having her presented at our annual women's award news conference in New Orleans, this year's site of the Women's Final Four.
In launching a women's beat to offer local coverage on such schools as Georgia and Georgia Tech, as well as the national scene, her hire led to a 26-year run writing a women's hoops column for Basketball Times, where she offered great storytelling as well as opinionated columns.
She volunteered to help and did most of the heavy lifting to set up the early days of the USBWA women's awards luncheons at the Women's Final Four and also help with the vote count on the USBWA women's All-America team and individual national honors.
Like many of us who got involved with women's coverage, she was initially considered a part-time correspondent on the AJC beat. Eventually, she moved full-time into sports from 1996-2004, covering not only women's basketball but football and other collegiate sports as well as the 1999 and 2003 women's soccer world cup, and the 1996 and 2000 Olympics.
"Wendy Parker is the pro's pro," said New London Day columnist Mike DiMauro, who spent much time working alongside her while covering the Connecticut Huskies women's team. "She was a journalistic giant covering all collegiate sports, not just women's basketball.
"I always loved the respect and reverence (Georgia women's coach) Andy Landers had for her. Nobody deserves this honor more."
After her stint working on the print side of things at the AJC, she moved for a while into the paper's budding internet operation, acquiring new skills, and became a special USBWA board member as a new media liaison.
When job cuts began hitting the AJC, she left to steer her own operation in community news.
In this year at the start of a new decade, it is with great pride that we now call her a USBWA Hall of Famer.
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