Saturday, January 24, 2009

RIP Coach Yow

Ned Dishman/NBAE/Getty Images
Sad news from the world of college hoops this morning, as legendary North Carolina State Head Coach Kay Yow lost her lengthy and inspirational battle with breast cancer, passing away peacefully early Saturday. Her absence will be felt throughout the women's basketball community.

From N.C. State's press release:

She entered her 34th season as head mentor of the Wolfpack women’s program in 2008-09. Her NC State record of 680-325 left her as one of only three women’s coaches at the Division I level to coach 1,000 games at one institution. On Dec. 14 in a victory over Ole Miss, Coach Yow took her place alongside legendary Tennessee coach Pat Summitt and former Texas coach Jody Condradt.

Yow’s all-time collegiate record of 737-344 spanned 38 seasons, four with Elon College. She was one of just six coaches to ever compile over 700 victories and began this season as the most tenured coach in the active ranks.
Of course, to summarize Yow's career and life in wins and losses would be to significantly understate its magnitude. Her influence was as strong if not stronger in the way she led off the floor, including the the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund established in 2007 in partnership with the V Foundation to battle women's cancers.

The WNBA's leadership has paid tribute to Yow. From President Donna Orender:

This is certainly a profound loss for the family of basketball. Kay's legacy will be the many lives she touched and will continue to touch as the lessons she delivered in life will live on.
and WNBA Chief of Basketball Operations and Player Relations Renee Brown:

I consider myself blessed to have known - and learned from - Coach Yow throughout my career. Without a doubt she will be remembered as one of the most beloved coaches in the history of women's basketball. Her players adored her but it was so, so much bigger than basketball. They adored and respected her for the life lessons she imparted along the way; she taught them the value of being a good person and representing themselves and their families in the proper manner. Kay did more than prepare her players for basketball; she prepared them for life.
As you would expect,'s Mechelle Voepel has a heartfelt column that encapsulates Yow's life and career as best possible.

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