Looking at Yow’s legacy from the other side

There has been plenty of discussion about Debbie Yow’s arrival at NC State and what she plans and hopes to do with the NC State athletic program. There hasn’t, however, been much intelligent discussion of Yow’s legacy at Maryland after 16 years of service. Of course there has been the generic message board “response” from both Maryland and NC State fans. Maryland fans are happy to see Yow go while some NC State fans feel her hire is a mistake.

The ACC Sports Journal published a very interesting piece Monday regarding Yow’s legacy from the Maryland perspective. Some of the article is below, but please do the ACC Sports Journal and yourself a favor by clicking and reading the rest of the piece. It really is worth the time.

Yow Legacy Mostly Positive

Harry “Curley” Byrd and James Kehoe are revered names in the history of Maryland athletics. You might not know it if you recently visited Maryland or N.C. State message boards, but Deborah A. Yow may have surpassed both in terms of her accomplishments as the Terps’ athletic director.

Kehoe presided over a truly golden era of Maryland athletics, as the 1970s saw the football program compete on a national level under Jerry Claiborne, and then the once-moribund basketball program blossomed under Lefty Driesell.

However, the late 1980s and early 1990s were not good to Maryland athletics, as the Len Bias scandal destroyed the basketball program and the departure of coach Bobby Ross sent the football program into a downward spiral.

While greatly handicapped by falling revenues because of the struggles of football and basketball, athletic directors Dick Dull, Lew Perkins and Andy Geiger oversaw a dark period for Maryland athletics that at some points became a mess both fiscally and competitively.

Geiger at least had the good sense to hire Gary Williams, which was the flash point for the ultimate resurgence of Maryland basketball. Geiger didn’t fare so well in hiring a football coach, as the Mark Duffner tenure was an unqualified disaster.

Enter Yow, who was hired as Maryland’s athletic director in 1994, at a time when not much was going right for the department. Yow inherited a massive $51 million debt, a history of poor academic performance among athletes, fan apathy and a slew of unsuccessful varsity programs.

Jeff Barker, a Maryland beat writer for the Baltimore Sun, also spoke about Yow’s legacy Monday on 620 the Buzz. Listen to that audio here.

Check back later today for some basketball discussion as Sidney Lowe holds his summer press conference this morning. Certainly he will have more to say about Yow along with his thoughts on the upcoming season.

ACC & Other Athletics Directors College Basketball

16 Responses to Looking at Yow’s legacy from the other side

  1. Alpha Wolf 06/29/2010 at 8:40 AM #

    There’s an interesting comment, but I think it is largely sour grapes from a disgruntled UMD fan:

    When do you think Meharg, Cirovski and Timchal (who account for 15 of MD 20 national championship) were hired. They were hired by Perkins & Geiger. Before Yow ever step onto campus. They care about non-revenue sports. Geiger built the Stanford empire on the success of non-revenue sports

    With regard to Title IX, it was Geiger that started the program for equality between the men’s and women’s programs. Not Yow. She just followed Geiger plan that he set up with the department of education.

    Lastly, Maryland has never been in the top 10 of the Sears Cup. Not once let alone “numerous times”

    Maryland is listed as 28th in 2009

    I still think that this is a great hire, and I think that a lot of Maryland’s fans are being, well, Maryland fans. Folks like to talk about US as if we’re bad, but on our worst day we can’t come close to matching their foolishness*.

    * except on Pack Pride.

  2. sautz 06/29/2010 at 9:09 AM #

    I’m still taking the wait and see approach on this hire. There is a lot of celebration, warranted or not, from the Maryland fan over Yow leaving.
    We saw the same things with Herb, O’Brien (in the BC case, of course), and Fowler.
    The average fan and/or message board poster was very happy to see them go, while the press lauded them as saints of which we were lucky to have had them grace us with their presence whilst they lived among us poor mortals.

  3. Derek Medlin 06/29/2010 at 9:35 AM #

    You deserve a prize of some sort for using whilst in a comment. Well done.

  4. choppack1 06/29/2010 at 10:03 AM #

    Who knows if this TOB Part 2 or HWSBN at ASU?

    Of course, it’s worth noting that in both cases, TOB and HWSBN improved upon the results of the previous regime. (In TOB’s case, this was definitely the case the first 2 years – in his 3rd year, he took a step back, but still did something the previous guy couldn’t.)

    The point is that in this case – the likelihood of success is much better than if you hire, say a Fowler type or even the Sendek type-candiate (out of Miami of OH). We’ve hired someone who had some success at a school in a major conference.

    We should like the things we’re hearing. Tough, disciplined, and demanding?? No one has ever used the same phrases to describe Fowler – unless they were saying – Fowler is NOT tough, disciplined and demanding.

    And let’s be totally honest – in the Fridge and Williams she had 2 coaches who evidently needed to be motivated.

    The glass isn’t all full. I wish she didn’t have the ties to NC State that she did. I wish that she hadn’t taken some of these spats public and I do have concerns that she may be a bit of a micromanager. And quite frankly, if there was a Paul Johnson type candidate out there – I wasn’t aware of him or her – so maybe that’s my ignorance – but this hire makes sense – and may be just what we need.

  5. 6-4Sequoia 06/29/2010 at 10:08 AM #

    Funny, I used the word “whilst” in a Facebook entry some time ago and I got a lot of feedback too saying I deserved some kind of recognition for using that word correctly….who knew?

  6. ncsu96 06/29/2010 at 1:04 PM #

    There is a very high probability Yow will be hiring a football or men’s bball coach while at State (and it could easily happen in next 2 yrs.)

    I am just not overwhelmed by her hires at UMd, with possible exception of Women’s Bball. I am also concerned her reputation of being tough to work for may hurt us in finding new coaches (this maybe bogus but it’s widespread enough to cause concern). I just don’t feel great about her hiring our next men’s bbal and football coaches. (For the record, I am not insane we’re stil in much much better than with Fowler in this respect).

    She brings a lot of other positives bu revenue sports are the ultimate trump card.

  7. 61Packer 06/29/2010 at 2:23 PM #

    “There is a very high probability Yow will be hiring a football or men’s bball coach while at State (and it could easily happen in next 2 yrs.)”

    I predict that it won’t happen anytime soon, even if our football team has its fifth straight losing season and basketball has its fifth straight finish near the bottom of the ACC and no NCAA tourney.

    I’m convinced that this new NCSU administration isn’t going to be any different than before. They won’t do anything that doesn’t feel good to THEM. They’ll continue to ignore the continuing pain of losing that Pack fans may have to futher endure while administrators focus on the only thing that really matters to them- academics. I believe that’s what finally got Yow’s predecessor tossed out of the Pack Plane, but with a fat golden parachute.

  8. Wulfpack 06/29/2010 at 3:04 PM #

    “I predict that it won’t happen anytime soon, even if our football team has its fifth straight losing season and basketball has its fifth straight finish near the bottom of the ACC and no NCAA tourney.”

    No way. Woodson and Yow will NOT stand for this. No way.

  9. tjfoose1 06/29/2010 at 3:32 PM #

    “No way. Woodson and Yow will NOT stand for this. No way.”

    TOB ain’t going anywhere after 2010, unless HE decides to. 2011 is a different story.

  10. ncsu96 06/29/2010 at 4:16 PM #

    ^^ agreed. That’s why I said 2 years.

  11. Alpha Wolf 06/29/2010 at 6:58 PM #

    I wouldn’t be so quick to have doubts about Yow’s ability to hire a coach. We all know that Chuck Neinas is the kingmaker in college football, and that Randy Woodson knows that too and would almost certainly use his services. These intermediates are just how it’s done now.

    For another thing, are you certain that Debbie Yow would be as bad at BB coaching search as Lee Fowler ultimately proved to be. The archives of this site document time and again how the “Coach” pretty much failed at replacing Sendek. Believe the stories about Rick Barnes or not if you like, but you cannot get around the Beilein debacle — LF completely overlooked the man’s contract buyout and the mood of the West Virginia folks. I believe the Barnes stories because people I trust that were close to the situation universally say that Fowler screwed the pooch and basically blew it TWICE with Barnes. The Beilein and the Steve Lavin sagas speak for themselves.

    I personally think that Debbie Yow would have gotten the job done back then because she is an effective manager.

    I still think that this is a good hire. A damned good hire.

  12. Wulfpack 06/29/2010 at 8:54 PM #

    I think she is a very good hire. But to me, that shouldn’t be the end all, be all. Nearly anyone with any kind of experience would have been.

    I’m hearing that she is very good at her overall job, but struggled mightily with Gary and Ralph. She puts a bunch of focus on the women’s sports and the Olympic sports. That’s all well and good, and will spike our standing in the director’s cup, but we have a lot of ground to make up with the two big boys. I think basketball may well be on its way up, but football remains a bit of a mystery as to what will happen, especially when RW leaves.

    Again, she’s a very good hire. But we have to remain objective as things unfold throughout her tenure.

  13. john of sparta 06/30/2010 at 5:56 PM #

    +1 Alpha. Barnes could Be coach now.
    we just would not deliver. sad story.

    in NCAA Division One, or whatever….
    the Coach is the Star the Product and
    the Program. the AD handles the problems.
    is this our Yoa Ming or Yow Zing?

  14. packalum44 06/30/2010 at 7:37 PM #

    Unless we know specifics, all we can do is speculate based on incredibly limited knowledge of Debbie’s situation with the Fridge and Gary. What it seems to me though is she tried to fire both unsuccessfully because many variables were simply out of her hands. But hell at least she fought the battle.

    I give her serious props for trying with Gary not many would fight that battle. As his boss, she concluded that he wasn’t meeting her expectations.

  15. ncsu96 07/01/2010 at 9:15 AM #

    hey Alpha – don’t get me wrong, I think she’s infinitely better than Fowler. As you point out, she probably would’ve gotten it done with Barnes (had she been our AD back then). I was honestly intrigued by Purcell or Stokan, I felt they had unique abilities to sell NC State. As you point out, search firms have changed the whole hiringprocess and I think AD’s job is more about selling their school to top candidates (rather than finding the top candidates).

    The more I read and stew on the hire, the more I believe Woodson wants a massive cultural change in Athletics Dept. Of course, I think that’s great but I’m not sure if that means anything for football and basketball. Revenue sports are always fully supported so you can’t magically make them win.

  16. Classof89 07/01/2010 at 9:55 AM #

    from the Sports Journal article:

    “Maryland suffered an unusual level of turnover within the athletic department during her tenure. That was due in part to assistant athletic directors and other subordinates who just could not stand working for such a demanding boss, and in part because many did not measure up to her high standards.”

    I think I’m willing to live with “unusual level of turnover” in our athletic department…how about ya’ll? She reminds me of our departed Chancellor Fox.

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