Two veteran Black sports journalists—Cheryl Coward, founder of the Hoopfeed.com website, and Danny Davis, University of Texas beat writer at the Austin American-Statesman— are the recipients of the 2023 WBCA Mel Greenberg Media Awards. The award is named for Greenberg, the Philadelphia Inquirer sportswriter who founded the Associated Press Top 25 women’s basketball poll.
Coward received the national Mel Greenberg award, which has been presented annually since 1991. Davis received the community award, which is presented to an individual who is a media ambassador for women’s and girls’ basketball on a local level. The award was first given in 2022, to a journalist in the area where the WBCA convention is held and in conjunction with the NCAA Women’s Final Four. This year, the Final Four and the convention take place in Dallas.
“It’s a delight to see Cheryl receive the national media award,” said Greenberg. “Back before many more women’s websites developed and beyond what we received from the Associated Press reports, Cheryl was our go-to as a one-woman newswire with Hoopfeed. She often fed us information far ahead of the news surfacing elsewhere.
“Danny is the principal writer at the Austin American-Statesman covering the Texas Longhorns,” he continued. “The fact that several individuals in Austin, aware of this new award, offered Danny as a candidate speaks well of his service to the community and makes him a worthy recipient of the new community media award.”
“The WBCA salutes them both for their contributions of time and talent to advance women’s basketball,” said Executive Director Danielle Donehew.
Davis, a 2007 University of Montana grad, has worked at the American-Statesman for 16 years and covered Texas athletics for the past seven years, including women’s basketball for four years. “It is an honor to both be recognized alongside Cheryl and to have my name associated with Mel, Charles Hallman [the 2022 winner], and the national recipients who came before me,” noted Davis.
A longtime writer, Coward established Hoopfeed.com in 2007, and covers several aspects of the sport on the college, pro and Olympic level. She began her journalist career in Washington, D.C. and has held previous roles such as chief of research at the Village Voice. Her work has appeared in such publications as Black Enterprise, Essence and The Guardian.
A graduate of Smith College, the birthplace of women’s basketball, Coward also has written creative works including a novel, short stories and plays. She is the third Black female to receive the Greenberg Award (with LaChina Robinson in 2021 and Robin Roberts in 2001).
“I am honored to receive an award named after Mel Greenberg, a living icon who welcomed me into the world of women’s basketball media with goodwill and generosity,” she said in a statement.
Being a trailblazer is virtually natural for Coward, she recently told us. Her aunt Clara McLaughlin was the first Black woman to own a television station, a CBS affiliate. Her grandmother Arnetta Jackson, who raised her due to her mother’s battle with breast cancer for most of Coward’s childhood, was a voting rights advocate honored by the Democratic Party.
The WBCA award “means a lot because I built Hoopfeed from the ground up,” said Coward. “I’ve taught myself a long time ago…the actual technical aspects of building it. A lot of the stuff that’s on the website I actually coded myself.
“It’s about telling the stories,” said Coward. “I also want people to think more about the foundation of the history of the game, and the demographics of how we’re putting forward. We’re not showing the true face of who is actually playing, supporting and coaching women’s basketball from a grassroots level.”
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