Wendy Parker, far right, with her colleagues on the 1980 Tropolitan staff.
A Troy University alumna is being honored as one of the best college basketball writers of all time.
Wendy Parker, a 1982 graduate of the Hall School of Journalism, has been named to the U.S. Basketball Writers Association Hall of Fame after covering the rise of women’s college basketball into a national spectator sport.
As a TROY student, Parker wrote for the Tropolitan student newspaper for four years, serving as editor during her senior year.
She went on to write for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution for 18 years, covering a variety of beats including college football and basketball, soccer and the Olympics.
But it was her coverage of women’s college basketball that earned her perhaps her greatest notoriety.
“I covered women’s college basketball, mostly the University of Georgia, who had really good teams in the ‘90s, and I also wrote for a magazine called Basketball Times for 20 years,” Parker said. “I covered the women’s Final Four for many years, and did a lot of freelancing for that as well. I’m now one of two people enshrined in this hall of fame who covered primarily women’s basketball, but I came along at a time when ESPN started doing more games and it started getting more TV coverage, so I came along at the perfect time. My editors at Basketball Times and the Journal-Constitution embraced the sport.”
Her first taste of the sport came in covering Coach Joyce Sorrell’s TROY teams in the early 1980s.
“I kind of got the bug doing that,” Parker said. “I made it my mission to give a little bit more depth to a really fast-growing sport in terms of being a spectator sport. If timing is everything, I am glad I was, for once in my life, in the right place at the right time. I had a lot of illustrious basketball writers I got to know, like Bob Ryan of the Boston Globe, Dick Weiss, some great names. That [I’m] considered among that company is always going to be unbelievable for me. I just wanted to cover things that I thought id enjoy writing about and more people would enjoy reading about.”
Parker credits her time at the Tropolitan with laying the groundwork for her journalism career.
“It was everything, being on student paper and being a journalism major,” she said. “It gave me a chance to really flex my wings and figure out what I wanted to do. It’s a great training ground not only to know how to write a news story and develop news judgment, but to make mistakes and see what you’re going to like or not like. We supported each other, encouraged each other, and we had some really good professors especially Judy Wagnon. TROY gave me a lot of time, space and opportunity to try a lot of things.”
Today, she has left sports to focus on running her own community news site, East Cobb News.
“I started out doing community news right out of college, and now I’ve come back to it,” she said. “This is an independent, solo effort. I was doing a community news site for AOL, and when they sold it, I knew I wanted to do something independent that met the news needs for the community. It’s like reading a newspaper, but all online.”
Unfortunately, the formal awards ceremony has not taken place yet due to COVID-19 concerns.
“I never got into this for that, but I am deeply honored, whether I get a formal induction ceremony or not,” Parker said.