N.C. State dons pink to honor Yow
Posted January 26, 2009 2:25 p.m. EST
Updated October 18, 2011 9:37 a.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — North Carolina State University students ditched Wolfpack red and white for a softer hue Monday – pink, the universal color of breast cancer awareness, in memory of women's basketball Coach Kay Yow.
Yow, 66, died Saturday morning after her third recurrence of breast cancer in five years. She was first diagnosed with the disease in 1987.
"She's just such an inspiration to anyone," said NSCU student Amanda Shattuck, whose relatives have struggled against cancer. "She is an amazing women for having cancer for 22 years, still coaching."
Student-government members handed out more than 1,000 pink ribbons, and thousands of students donned pink clothing and wrote messages at a memorial at the Bell Tower.
At the Free Expression Tunnel, someone painted a more-than-life-sized portrait of Yow and her name, intertwined with a pink ribbon, against a background of pink.
"It's just important to show that we still support her, even though she's not here any more," Shattuck said.
Students remembered Yow as an exemplar of grace under pressure, on and off the basketball court.
"I just felt really humbled to be in her presence before," said student Heather Jarrell, who attended a basketball camp taught by Yow.
"Even if you just watch a basketball game, you can see the wonderful spirit that she has and the wonderful emotion that she has for the game. Her spirit is just awesome," Jarrell continued.
Yow exhibited that same spirit in fighting breast cancer and in raising awareness about the disease, students said.
She launched the first women's initiative by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association – the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund. She founded the Jimmy V Classic women's tournament – honoring her friend and NCSU men's basketball coach and athletic director Jim Valvano, who died of cancer in 1993. Her annual Hoops for Hope game inspired Blair Williams to start a similar event with her Athens Drive High School basketball team.
"She worked her whole life, giving, giving and giving," junior Katie Mills said.
"And she still wanted to keep going, even though she was sick. She went out with a fight," Shattuck said.
NCSU will hold a tribute service for Yow at Reynolds Coliseum Wednesday evening. Her 2008-2009 basketball team will attend, and coaching staff, athletics department members and administrators will speak.
Doors open at 6 p.m., and the program begins at 7 p.m. Attendees should park in the Reynolds Coliseum parking deck.
The basketball court in Reynolds Coliseum is named for Yow.
A public viewing will be held 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday at Colonial Baptist Church in Cary. Yow's 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, N.C. 27513
Cary Alliance Church
4108 Ten Ten Road
Apex, N.C. 27539
Sales of t-shirts and other inspirational products from P.H. Enterprises also go to support the Yow Cancer Fund.