Raleigh, N.C. — Fans and friends remembered North Carolina State University women’s basketball coach Kay Yow on Saturday as an inspiration on and off the court.
Yow passed away at WakeMed in Cary at 6:40 a.m., after battling breast cancer for more than 21 years.
N.C. State junior Peggy Boone placed a purple flower in honor of Yow at the campus’ Bell Tower Saturday afternoon. Mourners were asked to place memorials and flowers there instead of the Reynolds Coliseum, where the U.S. Secret Service would be preparing for a Monday speech by former President Bill Clinton.
Boone said she admired Yow for “the way she coached and treated her players like family members…the respect she had for them and how she put her own troubles aside.”
Jackie Bennett, 17, was in middle school when she attended Yow’s basketball camp.
“She talked about being a good person on and off the court,” Bennett said.
Now a student at Cary Academy, Bennett was playing Saturday at a gymnasium named for Yow at the Herb Young Community Center in Cary.
Bennett said she sees Yow as a “role model…for all young women and all women who play sports.”
Recurrences of the disease struck Yow in 2004, 2006 and 2007. Through it all, she never quit her team, missing a few games but always returning to coach her girls on the court.
N.C. State plant biology professor Becky Boston said Yow’s determination is part of what makes her a legend.
“My mother died of cancer and so just watching Kay Yow be able to continue the fight for so long and inspire so many of us, it’s just tremendous and we’ll miss her so much,” Boston said.
“She touched so many lives, not only on the basketball court, but off the basketball court,” Cary Mayor Harold Weinbrecht said.
GOLO user patches5642 said she met Yow while working at N.C. State.
“The two things I remember the most were her faith and zest for life and she never separated these two things. I feel my life was blessed in having known her. Kay Yow said, ‘Life has been a gift to me,’ but I would say that ‘anyone who knew Kay Yow had received a wonderful gift,’” patches5642 wrote on GOLO's Yow memorial blog.
“She was a true inspiration to all breast cancer survivors and those fighting the disease. She gave us all hope,” GOLO member mizphylis wrote.
A public viewing will be held Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Colonial Baptist Church in Cary. A funeral will follow at 3 p.m.
Burial will take place Saturday, Jan. 31, at 10 a.m. at Gibsonville Cemetery in Gibsonville.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund and mailed to:
The V Foundation for Cancer Research
106 Towerview Court
Cary, NC 27513
Cary Alliance Church
4108 Ten Ten Road
Apex, NC 27539