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Sandra Kay Yow (March 14, 1942 – January 24, 2009) was an Americanmarker basketball coach. She was the head coach of the NC State Wolfpack women's basketball team at from 1975 to 2009. A member of the Naismith Hall of Fame, she had more than 700 career wins. She also won an Olympic gold medal as coach of the 1988 U.S. women's basketball team, despite having been diagnosed with breast cancer in 1987.

Education and coaching career

Yow received her Bachelor of Science degree in English from East Carolina Universitymarker in 1964. After graduation she worked as English teacher, librarian and girls' basketball coach at Allen Jay High School in High Point, North Carolinamarker. She then earned her Master's degree in Physical Education from the UNC-Greensboromarker in 1970 and then took the position of women's athletics coordinator and women's basketball coach at Elon College.

In 1975, Yow became NC Statemarker's first full-time women's basketball coach and also coached women's volleyball and softball. She led the women's basketball team to an ACC championship in the first season of league play in 1978.

On January 11, 2001, she reached the 600-win milestone for her career with a 71–64 win over Temple Universitymarker. On February 5, 2007, she reached the 700-win milestone for her career with a 68–51 win over Florida State Universitymarker. At the time of her death, she ranked as the fifth winningest active NCAA Division I women's basketball coach. In recognition for her dedication and success, Yow was selected for induction into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000 and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famemarker on June 5, 2002, the fifth female coach to be selected. On February 16, 2007 the basketball court at Reynolds Coliseummarker was renamed Kay Yow Court at Reynolds Coliseum in her honor. On July 11, 2007, Yow received the inaugural Jimmy V ESPY Award for Perseverance. She received a standing ovation.

Yow also coached the silver-medal-winning U.S. women's basketball team in the 1981 World University Games; the 1986 gold-winning U.S. teams in the Goodwill Games and the FIBA World Championship; and the gold-medal-winning U.S. women's basketball team in the 1988 Seoul Olympics.

All-Time College Coaching Record
Season Team Record Postseason AP Poll
1971-1972 Elon 5-11
1972-1973 Elon 13-3 NCAIAW State Tournament
1973-1974 Elon 20-1 AIAW Regionals
1974-1975 Elon 19-4 AIAW Regionals
1975-1976 NC State 19-7 Women's NIT Quarterfinals
1976-1977 NC State 21-3 AIAW Region II 10
1977-1978 NC State 29-5 AIAW Elite Eight 3
1978-1979 NC State 27-7 AIAW Region II 11
1979-1980 NC State 28-8 AIAW Sweet 16 10
1980-1981 NC State 21-10 AIAW Sweet 16 13
1981-1982 NC State 24-7 NCAA Sweet 16 12
1982-1983 NC State 22-8 NCAA 1st Round 16
1983-1984 NC State 23-9 NCAA Sweet 16 16
1984-1985 NC State 25-6 NCAA Sweet 16 12
1985-1986 NC State 18-11 NCAA 2nd Round
1986-1987 NC State 24-7 NCAA Sweet 16 13
1987-1988 NC State 10-17
1988-1989 NC State 24-7 NCAA Sweet 16 13
1989-1990 NC State 25-6 NCAA Sweet 16 11
1990-1991 NC State 27-6 NCAA Sweet 16 7
1991-1992 NC State 16-12
1992-1993 NC State 14-13
1993-1994 NC State 13-14
1994-1995 NC State 21-10 NCAA Sweet 16 24
1995-1996 NC State 20-10 NCAA 2nd Round 23
1996-1997 NC State 19-12 NCAA 1st Round
1997-1998 NC State 25-7 NCAA Final Four 10
1998-1999 NC State 17-12 NCAA 2nd Round
1999-2000 NC State 20-9 NCAA 1st Round 23
2000-2001 NC State 22-11 NCAA Sweet 16 19
2001-2002 NC State 14-15
2002-2003 NC State 11-17
2003-2004 NC State 17-15 NCAA 1st Round
2004-2005 NC State 21-8 NCAA 1st Round 21
2005-2006 NC State 19-12 NCAA 1st Round
2006-2007 NC State 15-4 NCAA Sweet 16 18
2007-2008 NC State 21-13 Women's NIT Semifinals
2008-2009 NC State 8-7
Overall 737-344 .682
ACC Regular Season Champion
ACC Tournament Champion
ACC Regular Season and Tournament Champion

Personal life

Yow's two sisters are also active in collegiate sports. Deborah Yow is the Athletic Director at the University of Maryland, College Parkmarker, and Susan Yow coached women's basketball at the University of North Carolina at Wilmingtonmarker, Kansas State Universitymarker, Drake Universitymarker, East Tennessee State Universitymarker, Providence Collegemarker, and Belmont Abbey College. Susan Yow was in her second season as head coach at Belmont Abbey College. Susan has also served as an assistant coach to the WNBA teams, the Charlotte Sting and the Cleveland Rockers. In 2006, Susan was named as an assistant coach with the Minnesota Lynx, but resigned along with head coach Suzie McConnell-Serio on July 23, 2006.

After her 1987 breast cancer diagnosis, Yow became active in raising awareness as well as money to battle the disease. In 2007, the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund was instituted by the Women's Basketball Coaches Association and the V Foundation for Cancer Research, of which she served on the board of directors. Her cancer recurred in November 2004 and she began radiation treatments the following month after having surgery.


Yow had been on a leave of absence from coaching since early January 2009 because of her disease. She died from stage 4 breast cancer on January 24, 2009. In her obituary, the Charlotte Observer said, "Yow never lost her folksy, easygoing manner and refused to dwell on her health issues, though they colored everything she did almost as much as basketball. Ultimately, her philosophy on both were the same."

Yow planned her own funeral before she died and recorded a 25-minute video to be played at the service. More than 1,400 people attended the funeral on January 30 at a suburban Raleigh church, as Yow thanked her supporters on the video. "And now I say farewell," she bade the mourners, "and it's been a wonderful journey, especially since the time I accepted Jesus as my Lord and Savior".


  1. Yow fifth women's coach to 600 victoriesESPN
  2. 2009-2010 Wolfpack Women's Basketball Media Guide
  3. Maryland Athletics Director profile
  4. Providence College coaching profile
  5. on resignation

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