Kelly Greenberg joins brother in Big 5 Hall of Fame

Kelly Greenberg was a La Salle basketball standout from 1985-89 and Penn coach from 1999-2004.
Kelly Greenberg was a La Salle basketball standout from 1985-89 and Penn coach from 1999-2004. (FILE PHOTOS)
Posted: February 21, 2012

ONE MORE Greenberg is entering the Big 5 Hall of Fame, as Kelly Greenberg, a former La Salle player and former Penn coach, has been named as one of this year's five inductees.

She joins Temple's Marc Jackson, Penn's Matt Maloney, Saint Joseph's Melissa Coursey and Villanova's Jenn Beisel in the Class of 2012.

Greenberg's brother, Chip, is a former Explorer who was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2003.

"This is something I wasn't really expecting, it's really hard to express into words," said Kelly, who has been the women's basketball coach at Boston University since 2004.

"I think it's wonderful; it was a well-deserved honor for her," said Chip Greenberg, who scored 1,227 points at La Salle from 1982-86.

"I've never seen someone work as hard as she did to get to where she is. She had talent, but she kept working and working and that's the way she is right now as a coach."

The Greenbergs are one of three sibling pairs in the Big 5 Hall of Fame, joining Bill and Bob Mlkvy from Temple and Penn, respectively, and Joe Ryan from Villanova and his sister, Ellen Ryan from St. Joe's.

The Greenbergs are two of 12 children of Joe Greenberg, who played at La Salle from 1946 to '48. Chip was the ninth child and Kelly was the 11th. Their uncle, Charley Greenberg, was a member of the Explorers' 1954 national championship team.

Kelly started out as a field hockey player for the Explorers and a walk-on with the women's basketball team in 1985. She said it took some time to build her confidence and halfway through her freshman season, her playing career took off.

In her 4 years, she became a two-time All-Big 5 selection, her team won three Big 5 championships and made the NCAA Tournament three times. She was also the first La Salle player to record a triple-double. But, she was more known for setting up her teammates than putting points on the the board, and is second in assists at La Salle with 512.

"Sometimes I think with these Halls of Fame and awards, I think they're given out to people who scored points and things like that, sometimes players aren't measured enough by what they mean to their team," Chip Greenberg said. "She played on some great La Salle teams, she was invaluable to her team even if she she didn't score a lot."

After her playing career was over, Kelly started a career in coaching that included assistant jobs at Northeastern, George Washington, Rhode Island and Holy Cross. She returned to the Big 5 in 1999 for her first head coaching job, at Penn.

She turned around a Quakers team that had not had a winning record in the previous eight seasons. From 1999-2004, her Penn teams were 84-54, won two Ivy titles and made two appearances in the NCAA Tournament. It was Penn's first time in the NCAAs.

Greenberg and the other four inductees will be inducted today at 11:30 a.m. at the Palestra.

"I never thought one day that I would be in the same Hall of Fame as my brother," Kelly said.