Saturday, January 24, 2009

Kay Yow (1942-2009)

RALEIGH (AP) | N.C. State’s Kay Yow, the Hall of Fame women’s basketball coach who won more than 700 games while earning fans with her decades-long fight against breast cancer, died on Saturday. She was 66. |

Yow coached the U.S. Olympic women’s basketball team to a gold medal in 1988, won four ACC tournament championships, earned 20 NCAA tournament bids and reached the Final Four in 1998.

But for many fans, Yow was best defined by her unwavering resolve while fighting cancer, from raising awareness and money for research to staying with her team through the debilitating effects of the disease and chemotherapy treatments. In her final months, Yow was on hormonal therapy as the cancer spread to her liver and bones.

She never flinched or complained, relying on her faith as the disease progressed. She commonly noted there were other patients with “harder battles than I’m fighting” and said it was inspiring for her to stay with her team.

“Almost everybody is dealing with something,” Yow said in a 2006 interview.

  • Yow’s story touched players, fans | The News & Observer
  • Yow’s considerable efforts will live on |
  • ESPN videos: Remembering Yow | Yow’s Legacy
  • WRAL video: Yow: 38 years of coaching, inspiration
  • Halls of Fame: Basketball | N.C. Sports

    Owen Good said...

    Kay Yow was NC State's first full-time women's coach. Think about that one for a second. I'm not sure there are many coaches in any sport the ACC who were essentially the only coach in their program's history, certainly for one as visible as women's basketball. And on that score, Kay Yow absolutely contributed to this game's growing popularity — a legacy that means more because of the thousands of girls who have chosen to pursue sports and their opportunities, perhaps even get a college scholarship, rather than television ratings or ticket sales.

    Kay Yow's many accomplishments reflect a great credit upon my university and the state of North Carolina. But she leaves an enormous legacy that extends far, far beyond the boundaries of both.

    James C. said...

    Amen to that, Owen.

    M. Lail said...

    I second that, Owen.