January 24, 2009

Kay Yow, longtime N.C. State coach, dies

Kay Yow, who coached women's basketball at North Carolina State for 38 years and a Gold Medal Olympic team in 1988, died Saturday of breast cancer.

Yow, 66, was first diagnosed with cancer in 1987, The (Raleigh,N.C.) News & Observer reported. The disease recurred in 2004.

Her team had a final visit with her this week at WakeMed Cary Hospital.

Yow played basketball in high school in Gibsonville, N.C. She went to East Carolina University, which had no women's basketball team, but got her first college coaching job, at Elon, after a brief stint coaching a high school team.

During her tenure at North Carolina State, Yow coached the team to the Final Four in the NCAA women's tournament and several league championships. In 1988, the U.S. women's team, under her guidance, upset Russia at the Olympics.

Yow was admitted to the James Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

After her first bout with breast cancer, Yow became an advocate for women with the disease.

Two of Yow's sisters also became college coaches. Deborah Yow is now athletic director at the University of Maryland, the first woman to occupy that position at an Atlantic Coast Conference school.