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Feb. 16, 2010

BOSTON (MA) -- CollegeInsider.com will pay tribute to one of the true icons of women’s college basketball with the creation of the Kay Yow Award. The award will be presented to the Division I women’s head coach who embodies not only a winning spirit but who also displays great character both on and off the court.

“We are thrilled to be able to pay tribute to the legacy of Coach Yow,” says CollegeInsider.com co-founder Angela Lento. “She embodied everything that is great about collegiate athletics. She was a teacher, a mentor and a friend to all those who knew her. The coaching profession needs more people like Coach Yow.”

When Yow lost her third battle with breast cancer in January of last year, the sport not only lost one of its winningest coaches but also one of its most respected teachers. Her legacy has yielded the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund, the Kay Yow Scholar-Athlete Award (given to the ACC’s top women’s basketball junior or senior student-athlete) and the Kay Yow Endowment, which awards an annual scholarship to an NC State athlete

“Our family is very humbled regarding the recognition of the Kay Yow Award and appreciative to everyone for honoring Kay's life, as well as her passion for the game through this award,” says Kay’s sister Susan, who is currently the head coach at Belmont Abbey. “I am sure Kay would tell you her desire to honor the Lord was a direct correlation of the influence she had on others and an expression of His Strength and Grace extended to her.”

Yow became the sixth head coach in the history of Divison I women’s basketball to reach the 700-win plateau, finishing with a sterling record of 737–344 in her 34 seasons at NC State. She was the first women’s coach in ACC history to eclipse 600 wins at the same school and directed NC State to 19 top-three finishes in the ACC standings. Her 1997-98 squad advanced all the way to the Final Four in Kansas City.

Twice, NC State players were named ACC Player and Rookie of the Year under her tutelage, and four earned MVPs of the ACC Tournament. Additionally, four of her players were honored with the esteemed Kodak All-America award. In all Yow coached an astounding 55 All-ACC honorees and 34 All-ACC Tournament players.

She was wildly successful in every forum in which she coached, leading gold medal winners at the 1981 World University Games, the 1986 Goodwill Games, 1986 World Championship Games and the 1988 Olympic Games. As an assistant, Yow was on the Olympic gold medal winning 1984 coaching staff in Los Angeles. In addition, she was an assistant on the gold medal-winning teams at the 1979 World University Games, the 1983 Pan American Games and the 1984 R. Williams Jones Cup.

Her accomplishments garnered her entrance into numerous halls of fame, including the Women’s Sports Hall of Fame, the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame, the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Hall of Fame, the Raleigh Sports Hall of Fame, the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

“CollegeInsider.com's choice to create the Kay Yow Coach of the Year Award is such a tribute to the person and character of the late Coach Kay Yow,” says Stephanie Glance, who was an assistant to Yow for 15 seasons before joining the staff at Tennessee. “To those who knew her, she was a person of high moral integrity who inspired generations of players, fans, friends, family members, colleagues and fellow cancer survivors to have faith, hope, perseverance and always a grateful heart. She was a person who always thought the glass was not only half full but overflowing. Kay Yow was a gift to all who knew her and she showed us how to live and die with grace, dignity and courage.”

The Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Foundation was announced on December 3, 2007, during the Jimmy V Classic. The Foundation was the first women's initiative that the WBCA chose in its 29-year history, and to date it has generated more than $2 million in the fight against cancer.

The Foundation is a 501(c)3 organization that the WBCA has made their charity of choice. Marsha Sharp, most known for her 24-year tenure at the helm of the Texas Tech women’s basketball program that included a national title in 1993, is executive director for the Fund.

“It is so awesome that this award is being created with Kay's name attached to it,” says Sharp, who is one of the game’s most respected leaders. “The qualities and criteria of this honor are all things that were central to Kay Yow's life and career. What a great opportunity for coaches of women's basketball to be honored in this way.”

The distinguished voting panel includes Dawn Staley (South Carolina), Debbie Ryan (Virginia), Wendy Larry (Old Dominion) and three members of the Yow family. The committee will be chaired by Debbie Antonelli, one of the top basketball analysts on television.

"It is an honor to represent the voting panel as the chair of the Kay Yow coach of the year award,” says Antonelli who was a three-year starter for Yow. “Coach Yow was a teacher first. The winner of this award will be someone that put people first. The winner will be a coach whose passion for teaching is only overshadowed by their care and concern for the coaches and players in the game."







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