Remembering Kay Yow: One year later

Kay Yow

“When life kicks you, let it kick you forward.” – Kay Yow

It’s hard to believe it’s already been one year since the passing of Kay Yow. Her memory as a legendary coach and inspirational figure to thousands suffering from breat cancer has done nothing but grow in the last 365 days, proving that her influence went way beyond the court bearing her name in Reynolds Coliseum.

My personal memory of Coach Yow is limited. I only met her once. But her impact on people’s lives at NC State and elsewhere is enough for me to know how truly special she was.

Here’s a few things to help remember Coach Yow, one year later.

Peeler: 25 Things about Late Coach Yow

Ask anyone who ever crossed paths with NC State women’s basketball coach Kay Yow and they will tell you she was an amazing lady.Many knew about her coaching career and her courageous battle with cancer, which ended Saturday morning when she passed away at the age of 66. And many have honored her accomplishments by making donations to the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund, which was set up through the V Foundation for Cancer Research to help raise cancer awareness and find a cure.

But how much did you really know Coach Yow, the person?

In reading all the tributes over the last few days, and searching through all the files we keep on Coach Yow, I’ve learned many things I didn’t previously know about Sandra Kay Yow.

And since the coach has multiple Facebook pages devoted to her, in the spirit of that social networking site, here are 25 things about Coach Yow that should be shared.

Here’s a great piece by AJ Carr in the N&O from Jan. 25, 2009.

‘She’s in a better place’

Two dozen red and white roses were in front of the N.C. State women’s basketball office at dimly lit Reynolds Coliseum on Saturday morning.Attached to the flowers was a note to coach Kay Yow that read: “Your basketball camp meant a lot to me and so do you.” It was signed, Ann Marie, age 8.

Those words seemed to sum up the sentiments of thousands, young and old, N.C. State players past and present, fans and Wolfpack foes, and a multitude of others whose lives were touched the past 38 years by Yow, who died early Saturday after a long bout with breast cancer.

University loses icon

Women’s basketball coach Kay Yow, the iconic matriarch of N.C. State women’s sports and a leader in the fight against cancer, died Saturday morning at WakeMed Cary Hospital. She was 66.

Yow, who was in her 38th year of coaching at the collegiate level, will be remembered not only for her work advancing the game of women’s basketball but also for her heroic struggle against breast cancer and her efforts to raise funds for research to stop the disease. In an official statement, Athletics Director Lee Fowler expressed his sorrow at the loss of coach Yow.

“Everyone who had the privilege of knowing Kay Yow has a heavy heart today,” Fowler said. “Her record and the honors she has received over the years are evidence of her abilities as a coach, but the former student-athletes who come back year after year and bring their children to visit her are a testament to the type of person she was. She was a blessing to many people because of her strong faith. She faced every opponent, whether on the basketball court or in a hospital room, with dignity and grace. She will be greatly missed.”

For those on Facebook, here’s an event scheduled to honor Yow today. If you would like info no how to donate to the Kay Yow WBCA Cancer Fund, go here.

Technician put together a pretty cool slideshow remembering Yow’s time at NC State. Check that out here.

Coach Yow’s goodbye video at her funeral:

Thank you Coach Yow, for everything you were to so many and everything you continue to be to so many more.

If you have a personal memory of Kay Yow please share it below.

Coaches College Basketball Kay Yow

3 Responses to Remembering Kay Yow: One year later

  1. Class of 2009 01/24/2010 at 2:53 PM #

    1) I recall reading a story in the Technician my freshmen year saying her doctors told her she should stay off the court because the stress to her body would cause other complications and potentially hospitalize her for the long-term again. She continued coaching my sophomore year. She literally didn’t mind dying for her girls, her school, and everything she meant to the University.

    2) When I was a young cadet in the Air Force ROTC, we had to take the court in Reynolds to get a detachment photograph and Yow was coaching. She was on her feet and watching the girls play. She had to sit down for a bit and when our Col. went in to ask her if we could use the court, she stood up, looked at her girls, told them to go take a 3 minutes break then start shooting again. She told the Col he had 2 minutes and he just said, “yes ma’am”. Respect Yow’s authori-tah! I wish even a quarter of our athletic department had the determination and strength of Yow.

  2. aPACKadeez 01/24/2010 at 11:20 PM #

    Coach Yow was truly a fearless person and great example of how all things in life should be pursued. What a wonderful role model she is for everything associated with our university.

  3. RSP123 01/25/2010 at 8:00 AM #

    Class act all the way! As a student during the 80s, I would catch several games a season as well as practices. She, like V, was always energetic and positive in the way she coached the players. In 2004, I brought my girl’s varsity team to State for the State Games. She was scouting a player on the other team, but when we won the game at the buzzer, she came across the court and congratulated me and my team. As a coach, that is very rewarding! RIP Coach Yow!

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