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N.C. State Coach Kay Yow Passes Away At 66

Jan. 24, 2009

Read more about Coach Yow at

Georgia Tech Head Coach MaChelle Joseph on the passing of Kay Yow

“Kay Yow represented what was good about our game. However, the impact she made on so many lives will live on forever. Her spirit and ability to bring out the best in those around her is her legacy. There is not a women’s basketball coach in the ACC or the country that has or has had the respect and admiration of their peers that Kay did. She will be missed by everyone”.

Other quotes from around the ACC and the country:

ACC Commissioner John Swofford
“What an impact Kay had on so many. Whether one of her players, an opposing coach, a friend, an associate in the world of sports or one who observed her grace, dignity, elegance, kindness and competitive spirit from a distance, you couldn’t help but be touched by her presence in our world. Kay was a very special lady. All of us associated with the ACC will miss her immensely, and our thoughts and prayers go out to her family, loved ones and team,”

WBCA CEO Beth Bass
“Words cannot even begin to express the impact that Coach Yow had on me personally and on this Association. I have known her for 32 years, and she is by far one of the most amazing people I have had the opportunity to get to know. Her legacy and impact will continue to live on even in her passing through her Foundation leading us toward a cure. Our thoughts and prayers go out to her friends and family. This is a very sad day for all of us.”

Marsha Sharp, President of Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund
“What a sad day for all of us with the loss of such a dear coach, friend and mentor, Kay Yow. It is humbling to serve as the President of the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund, and to have the opportunity to uphold her legacy of faith, integrity, inspiration and leadership through the Fund. I am positive that she would want us all to unite and find a way to continue the battle that she fought for years. We WILL find a cure for cancer.”

Nick Valvano, Chief Executive Officer of The V Foundation for Cancer Research
“I am honored to have a Fund established in partnership with The V Foundation that bears the name of Kay Yow. Her courage, faith and legacy will continue to live on in the hearts of those she helped to inspire throughout her coaching career and battle with cancer.”

Martha Kaley, founder of Friends for an Earlier Breast Cancer Test(R)
“Breast cancer has robbed us of a giant in our midst. We are all saddened by this loss. In honor and memory of Coach Yow, and the memory of all those we have lost, each of us must help ourselves and each other to change the picture of this insidious disease.” (Friends for an Earlier Breast Cancer Test is the non-profit breast cancer research organization that has been partnered with the ACC Women’s Basketball Tournament for the last decade. Coach Yow served as the keynote speaker at the very first major fundraiser held for Friends after its founding over thirteen years ago.)

Boston College Head Coach Sylvia Crawley
“Coach Yow motivated me as a player and coach. She dedicated her life to inspiring young lives. Thank you Coach Yow for what you did for the sport of women’s basketball.”

Clemson Head Coach Cristy McKinney
“This is a hard day for me personally and professionally. I was fortunate to be a member of Coach Yow’s first N.C. State team. That opportunity helped shape my career and my life. Coach Yow has been my coach, my mentor and my friend for 34 years. She was a remarkable, strong and passionate woman who was always there for the Wolfpack women family. Although I feel a lot of sadness today, I also feel some peace because I know Coach Yow is in a better place. Her faith allowed her to be the woman she was. The world lost a special person today, but Heaven gained a special angel.”

Duke Head Coach Joanne P. McCallie
“She has been such a warrior in terms of her fight and her struggle, but a part of me is just feeling great for her to be going home to a better place for her now. It’s hard to describe the feeling; it’s hard to put it into words. I’ve never seen a woman or known a woman to share a story, her story, so eloquently under such incredible conditions. The courage that she showed, a lot of people are afraid. They’re afraid to share their story. Kay was never afraid. I just know that it had to be a very peaceful thing for her. I’ve not known her very long, and I don’t know her extremely personally, but I feel like I know her character, and I think that’s the interesting thing about Kay Yow. You may not know her personally or had lunch perhaps, but the reality is you know her character and you know what she stands for. In our hearts, our thoughts, our prayers go out to North Carolina State and the entire North Carolina State family, that incredibly talented team. It’s much more personal and direct for them. We grieve with them, but we also celebrate with them. There’s a lot to celebrate there.”

Florida State Head Coach Sue Semrau
“Coach Kay Yow was a mentor and a friend. She coached in a way that I work to emulate every day. More importantly, she gave to and loved people in ways I can only aspire to. When considering her death, I remember a quote by Dwight L. Moody, who said, “When you read that D.L. Moody died on such and such a day at such and such a time, don’t believe it. Because at that moment I will be more alive than ever.”

Maryland Brenda Frese
“Coach Yow might be gone, but she’s touched so many lives and inspired so many people that her legacy will live on forever. She’s a giant in our game and for all the right reasons. When I first got to the ACC, it didn’t take long to figure out that Coach Yow was always about what was good for the sport and good for others. As a coach, she always got the most out of her team and they were always incredibly well prepared. Obviously, with her sister Debbie as my boss, we shared a connection. A couple weeks ago we got the message that things weren’t going well, so our players wrote cards to Coach Yow expressing our support. If there’s a team in heaven, I know she’s already coaching it. In this time of grief, our hearts and thoughts are with the Yow and N.C. State families.”

Miami Head Coach Katie Meier
“The sadness that everyone is feeling right now is from the void that is now in our lives. Kay Yow touched everyone that met her and millions that never had the opportunity. Her indomitable spirit and courage was an inspiration to all the people and families that have fought breast cancer. This classy and joyful woman is what coaches across the country try to model ourselves after. Her faith and dignity is what we try to instill into our student-athletes everyday. I have been truly blessed to have shared part of my life and memories with this beautiful woman.”

North Carolina Head Coach Sylvia Hatchell
“Kay was a real treasure to me. She was a jewel of a person, an outstanding coach, but more than anything a dear friend. She always represented herself and NC State with tremendous honor, grace and style, and her presence and competitive spirit will be greatly missed in the ACC. I don’t know of anyone in the world of women’s basketball that doesn’t owe a debt of gratitude to Kay. She will truly be missed, and our thoughts and prayers are with her staff and her players.”

Virginia Tech Beth Dunkenberger
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to the NC State family as we all mourn the loss of legendary basketball coach Kay Yow. She will be remembered for the profound impact she had on the game, her courageous fight against breast cancer, and the amazing impact she had on all those who knew her.”

Wake Forest Head coach Mike Petersen
“Coach Yow was a pioneer in our sport and is truly one of the legends of our sport. Today is a sad day for all of us that were fortunate enough to know her. Her record of accomplishments in women’s basketball is unparalleled. But to all of those whose lives she touched her legacy will be her tremendous courage, faith, and love of people. Everyone who came in to contact with Coach Yow was better for the experience. Our prayers are with her family and loved ones at this time of loss.”


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