Yow outlines goals for NCSU excellence on, off field
Posted June 24, 2010
Updated June 25, 2010
Raleigh, N.C. — North Carolina State University on Friday named Debbie Yow, sister of the late, legendary women's basketball coach Kay Yow, director of athletics.
She replaces Lee Fowler, who agreed to leave the university effective June 30 after almost 10 years on the job. Yow's contract will pay her $350,000 per year for five years, plus incentives.
"It's really good to be home," Yow told the assembled media and members of the Wolfpack Club at her introduction Friday afternoon.
The Yow sisters grew up in Gibsonville, N.C.
"We were looking for someone with impeccable experience," Chancellor Randy Woodson said. He described Yow as "an athletic director who can help us win, first in the classroom, then on the field and in the arena."
Yow outlined her plans to build a winning atmosphere at State on and off the field. "We will expect a national Top 25 program, moving toward Top 10 status and competing for national championships," she said.
"We will achieve a graduation rate that places us among the leaders of ACC public institutions year in and year out. It is, after all, the goal – to graduate."
She also acknowledged the avid Wolfpack fan base and promised them access to the AD's office.
"We also need to provide excellent customer service to our fans and special game day experience," she said.
"There's going to be a new e-mail address by Aug. 1 for fans to share issues with parking, tickets or other concerns. Someone will manage and have the authority to respond to those concerns. What fans need will always matter. It is one specific way we can show respect for all the individuals who support Wolfpack teams."
Yow met with the football staff before her press conference at Carter-Finley stadium and she had lunch with the Executive Director of the Wolfpack Club, Bobby Purcell.
Purcell was hoping to become the next NC State athletics director. While disappointed he didn't get it, Purcell told WRAL, "In life, you're going to have a lot of trying times," he explained. "It's how you handle them. Debbie will do a good job and I'll help out any way I can."
Purcell told Yow at their lunch that he wouldn't attend the press conference. "It was her moment," Purcell said.
The choice resonated with N.C. State fans across the Triangle.
"If your name is Yow, and you're good at what you do, and you're an athletic director, and you're looking for an athletic director at N.C. State, it's a natural fit," said Adam Gold, of 99.9 The Fan ESPN Radio.
Gold said Yow could be the right person to inject new spirit into N.C. State athletics – a program which hasn't had a winning football team in nearly five years or a men's basketball team in the NCAA championship in nearly as long.
"She's a winner," Gold said. "I think we can speculate that she'll be good and somebody to unify the N.C. State athletic community."
"There are a lot of folks still on board with football through thick and through thin," Yow said Friday. "I said to [N.C. State head football coach Tom O'Brien] 'You're my man.' I want and need him to be successful. Please understand that achieving these goals will be a process, but this is where we start."
During Yow's 16-year tenure, Maryland has won 20 national championships, including 11 in the past five years. Yow has also significantly increased Maryland's student-athlete graduation rate.
Woodson called Yow's resume "incredible" and said, "She has the ability to manage the most complex organizations, which athletics certainly is."
"You can never go wrong with hiring somebody who is a winner as a person and who has a track record of producing championships as an athletic director," Gold said.
He said he expects that Yow would bring to N.C. State the same tough, aggressive style she's shown at Maryland, where she got into public spats with men's basketball coach Gary Williams and football coach Ralph Friedgen.
"She's tough and she's demanding, but she's smart and she's fair, and she's aggressive. It's going to be fun," Gold said.
Yow is president of the national Division I-A Athletic Directors Association and a member of the board of directors for the National Football Foundation and the USA Football and the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Academic Enhancement Committee.
Yow was head coach for the Kentucky Wildcats women’s basketball team from 1976 to 1980, then moved into athletics administration at the University of Florida and the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. She had a successful tenure as athletics director at Saint Louis University.
"She knows how to run an athletic department," Gold said. "She has hired and fired coaches. She has managed people and a very large staff and a pretty large budget."