September 23, 2022
Locked on Women’s Basketball: Chuck Shriver shares tales from the WBL
Chuck Shriver, the former general manager of the Chicago Hustle, joins the pod to share his tales from the WBL
It’s time for another episode of the Locked on Women’s Basketball podcast. The latest episode features a special guest, Chuck Shriver, the former general manager of the WBL’s Chicago Hustle. Chuck joins host Natalie Heavren, one of The Next’s WBL specialists as well as our Atlantic 10 beat writer, to share tales from the days of the WBL.
Chuck on if people around him questioned his decision to leave the MLB’s Chicago White Sox to work for the Hustle in 1977:
Basically everybody. Because it was new, I mean, nobody had heard of women’s basketball at the professional level. Even women’s college wasn’t really big in the midwest, there in Chicago. So it was kind of a fresh idea for everyone, but I approached it like our team was another major league franchise. and I tried to position it as such.
Luckily because of my years with the White Sox and Cubs, I had some connections in Chicago with the media, I had a little credibility. So I was able to start with a little bit of a head start and get the media involved and get the whole idea rolling with them … It was a big help.
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Chuck on the first regular season games for the Hustle and the benefit of getting broadcast support:
We had a full sell-out crowd the first game. WGN telecasted, the play-by-play … was the Cubs’ play-by-play, a man named Vince Lloyd. And WGN hired Johnny Kerr, who was a basketball legend in Chicago, to do color commentary on the telecasts. And so the gym was rocking that night because it was a full crowd and we had television coverage.
And WGN did three games in the first two months of the season. [WGN producer] Jack Jacobson called me after the third game and said … “your three games out-drew the [NHL’s] Chicago Blackhawks’ telecasts, so we want to do more games,” so we reached an agreement to do six more games.
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