Sunday, January 25, 2009

N.C. STATE’S KAY YOW DIES AT 66

North Carolina State's Kay Yow, the Hall of Fame women's basketball coach who won more than 700 games while earning fans with her decades-long fight against breast cancer, died on Saturday. She was 66.

Yow, first diagnosed with the disease in 1987, died Saturday morning at WakeMed Cary Hospital after being admitted there last week, university spokeswoman Annabelle Myers said.

There were moments of silence to honor Yow before several basketball games Saturday, including the N.C. State-Boston College men's game in Boston. Duke -- one of N.C. State's closest ACC rivals -- also honored Yow before the men's game against Maryland.

Yow had a record of 737-344 in 38 years -- 34 years with the Wolfpack -- in a career filled with countless milestones. She coached the U.S. Olympic women's team to a gold medal in 1988; won four ACC tournament championships; earned 20 NCAA tournament bids; and reached the Final Four in 1998.
She also was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame in 2002; North Carolina State dedicated "Kay Yow Court" at Reynolds Coliseum in 2007.

But for many fans, Yow was best defined by her unwavering resolve while fighting cancer, from raising awareness and money for research to staying with her team through the debilitating effects of the disease and chemotherapy treatments. In her final months, Yow was on hormonal therapy as the cancer spread to her liver and bones.

She never flinched or complained, and commonly noted there were other patients with "harder battles than I'm fighting" and said it was inspiring for her to stay with her team.

Yow also was a past president and founding member of the Women's Basketball Coaches Association. The group's president, Sherri Coale, hailed her legacy and her impact on the game.

In 2007, Yow established the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund in partnership with The V Foundation for Cancer Research.

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