Local News

Tribute ceremony held for Kay Yow

Posted January 28, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009

— Friends and fans of North Carolina State women's basketball coach Kay Yow returned to the basketball court named in her honor to cheer her one more time Wednesday evening.

Yow, 66, died Saturday after battling breast cancer for more than 21 years.

Web only: Tribute ceremony held for Kay Yow Web only: Tribute ceremony held for Kay Yow

"You will always be remembered as an inspiration and a role model. Thank you, Coach Yow, for being you and for sharing with us the incredible gift of your life,” NCSU chancellor James Oblinger said during the program at Reynolds Coliseum.

Tears flowed in the crowd as interim head coach Stephanie Glance spoke of Yow adjusting after the effects of chemotherapy, which caused burns to her hands. Following Glance’s words, the women's team hugged.

University athletic director Lee Fowler said Yow always had a positive attitude.

“She was a teacher as much as she was a coach and this was her classroom and when she was here she was the happiest,” Fowler said.

Fowler said Yow would only "gripe" about officiating crews that she felt made bad calls during her games.

A video featuring comments from former players and members of the coaching staff aired on the video screens. Highlights from Yow's career were also shown.

During the program, Yow's number 14 jersey and a bouquet of flowers sat on an empty chair next to the women's basketball team.

NCSU assistant coach Jenny Palmateer, who also played for Yow, described her former coach as the type of person who wrote handwritten notes to all of her former players on their birthdays and holidays.

“She had a vision and belief in us and because she knew, she had that vision and belief, it really helped us believe in ourselves,” Palmateer said.

Director of basketball operations Robin Pate recalled light-hearted memories of Yow cooking her cell phone in a pizza.

Services for Yow are scheduled on Friday. A viewing will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Colonial Baptist Church in Cary. A funeral will follow at 3 p.m.


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  • Pseudonym Jan 29, 2009

    Kay Yow was a breath of fresh air in our Britney Spears/Paris Hilton-saturated culture. She was an extraordinary example for young women.

    God bless Kay Yow.

  • isendhelp Jan 28, 2009

    What a lady, a friend, a teacher, a coach....but above all, WHAT A FIGHTER!
    I send my heartfelt condolences to Coach Yow's family, friends, students and staff.

  • b4self2 Jan 28, 2009

    She brought laughter and love to many people,her faith was amazing.RIP

  • kikinc Jan 28, 2009

    I was lucky to meet Coach Yow one afternoon years ago when I was a student at State. I was sitting outside Talley Student Center reading an article on the women's basketball in the Technician. Coach Yow stopped by my table to ask if I was a basketball fan. I told her how I used to play in high school, but I wasn't very good. She asked me if I had fun while playing, and I said absolutely. She answered me with "Then you played the best you could, and that's all anyone can ask of you. It's not so much the skill you possess but the love of the game you have in your heart." She then proceeded to convince me to play on State's intramural teams, where she would very often come out to cheer everyone on. When I think of Coach Yow, I think of dedication, not only to her team, but to her school, and to everyone whose path she crossed.

  • lonepalm22 Jan 28, 2009

    I am 69 years old and have been in N.C. less than three years. I seldom watch sports news and especially don't care for basketball.So I don't know what caught my attention a few months ago when Coach Yow was in the news. Maybe it was because her name was Kay (as is mine) or because of her unfamiliar last name. Or maybe it was because she was a very special person and it showed so much. After I learned of her health condition, I could hardly believe that anyone could have such an upbeat personality under those conditions. I have followed all news of her closely ever since then and I was really frightened when they said she may skip the rest of the season to "get her strength back". I have never prayed any harder that my 'feelings' were wrong. But when she was gone, I understood that ours was not to reason why. Now I know why I was so drawn to her. She was an angel and her wings were showing. God has blessed all who knew her. Sorry I never had the opportunity to meet her.

    Kay Moore

  • wrx44 Jan 28, 2009

    God Bless Coach Yow...

  • packfan21 Jan 28, 2009

    God is glad you are home. Now you and Jimmy V can coach together in heaven. You will be missed here and NC State will not be the same without you.

  • BLK 007 Jan 28, 2009

    I'm honored to have been blessed to watch her coach.She will be missed not only as a coach , but as a pilliar of NC STATE.God welcomes you home, thy good and faithful servant.

  • agentm Jan 28, 2009

    god has another angel to watch over us...she will be truly be missed....she has touched so many people lives and everytime i meet her she was always had a good sprit!!!!