MSR’s Charles Hallman honored by Women’s Basketball Coaches Association

He and ESPN’s Holly Rowe both receive prestigious media awards

Fresh off his U.S. Basketball Writers Association Hall of Fame honor, Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder (MSR) sportswriter Charles Hallman has garnered yet another national award. 

On Monday, the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) announced that the local MSR reporter, along with ESPN commentator Holly Rowe, are the recipients of the 2022 WBCA Mel Greenberg Media Awards.

“Holly Rowe and Charles Hallman have dedicated their professional careers to promoting women’s and girls’ basketball on the national and community levels respectively. Both have worked tirelessly to preserve, promote and protect the priceless stories that make up our game’s historical record,” said WBCA Executive Director Danielle Donehew in a statement. 

“The WBCA is honored to present each of them the prestigious Mel Greenberg Media Award.”

Named after the Philadelphia Inquirer sportswriter who founded the Associated Press Top 25 women’s basketball poll, the Mel Greenberg Media Award is presented annually to a member of the media or a sports communications professional 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 made a positive impact on the growth and public exposure—regional or national—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.

A tireless supporter of girls and women in sports, Hallman frequently writes about overlooked and underrated Black female athletes. In 2021, the Tucker Center for Research on Girls & Women in Sport included him in a Title IX honor roll list that highlights individuals’ contributions to women’s athletics in Minnesota.

Still savoring his recent USBWA honor, Hallman expressed gratitude over his latest recognition. “I am still in awe and shock over being named to the USBWA Hall of Fame. Now this award—which I was informed of last week by the legendary Mel Greenberg himself—has only added to the awe and shock feeling,” he said. 

He added, “Also sharing this year’s WBCA award with ESPN’s Holly Rowe, a trailblazer, as well as joining the list of past winners including LaChina Robinson, Robin Roberts and the late St. Paul Pioneer Press’ Mike Augustin, whom I shared many local sports coverage [with] during his legendary career, is both awesome and humbling.”

Rowe, who has covered women’s basketball for over 30 years and will work her 17th-straight NCAA Women’s Final Four this year, is receiving the National Award, which has been presented annually since 1991. She joined ESPN full time in August 1998 after appearing on select ESPN telecasts in 1997 and ABC Sports in 1995-96. 

She also covers the WNBA for the network. Having recently completed treatment for stage IV metastatic melanoma, Rowe has become a tireless advocate for cancer research and prevention.

Hallman is receiving a new Community Award that will be presented on a recurring basis to an individual who is a media ambassador for women’s and girls’ basketball on a local level in cities where the WBCA Convention, which is held in conjunction with the NCAA Women’s Final Four, takes place.

“What a joy to honor Charles in his community with the new award two-fold as a Hall of Fame inductee from the USBWA and from the WBCA for his being your personal ambassador to years of coverage in the Twin Cities,” said Greenberg. “He certainly fits the definition of what this tribute is meant to be.”  

Hallman is a longtime reporter for the MSR, the oldest Black newspaper in the state of Minnesota. A prolific writer, his coverage of women’s basketball spans several decades from the prep level to college to the pros. Hallman is the longest-tenured beat writer for the Minnesota Gophers, while also covering the Minnesota Lynx since the team’s inception in the WNBA.

He shared with the MSR a few of his most cherished memories as a sports columnist: “First, seeing St. Paul native and Gopher legend Linda Roberts’ jersey raised in Williams Arena as the first Black woman basketball player to have such an honor.  

“The late Kwame McDonald and I conducted a years-long writing campaign to get her honored, and school officials told us that it was our efforts that convinced them to finally do the right thing. Roberts made me take a photo of her and I with her framed jersey, which proudly hangs in my home office.”  

He added, “Secondly, covering seven WNBA finals, four of which were won by the Minnesota Lynx, and being in the winning locker room during their post-game celebrations—I have a champagne cork from one of those events on my bookcase. Those are proud moments because in both cases I was there when no other local media were.” 

Hallman is humbled by the recognition of his work and the pioneering legacy he continues to build. “As with the USBWA honor, I am the first member of the Black Press to be so honored. And with the latter, I am the first Black male to be named by the WBCA. 

“I am thankful to the WBCA and to those folk who saw fit to nominate me and argue on my unknowing behalf. I sincerely hope that I didn’t disappoint and pray not to betray their belief in my work,” said Hallman.

Visit www.wbca.org/recognize to see a list of past recipients.