Apr 14, 2008
Raleigh, N.C. — North Carolina State University women’s basketball coach Kay Yow, who has bravely battled cancer since 1987 while crafting one of the most successful coaching legacies in basketball, has received the Mildred “Babe” Zaharias Didrikson Courage Award from the United States Sports Academy.
Academy Board of Visitors member and President of the U.S. Sport Alliance Joe Szlavik presented Coach Yow with the award during the Wolfpack team banquet Sunday at the McKimmon Center on the N.C. State campus.
Completing her 37th year in the college coaching ranks in 2007-08, Yow is one of only six Division I head women's basketball coaches to achieve 700 career victories.
Yow missed 16 games during the 2007 season to receive treatment for cancer that was first diagnosed in 1987. Upon her return to the team in 2007, she led the Wolfpack to the ACC Championship game and to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament.
In 1975, Yow was hired by Willis Casey to be the head coach of the women’s basketball program at N.C. State. She was installed as the head coach of both the softball and volleyball teams and was the coordinator of women's sports while she developed a fledgling basketball program. Yow took her first squad to the WNIT and completed the season with a 19-7 record. Since that first year, Yow has coached some of the nation’s most well known players of all-time, including WNBA All-Stars, Andrea Stinson, Chasity Melvin, NC State’s all-time leading scorer, Genia Beasley and current assistant coach, Trena Trice-Hill.
Yow is part of an elite group of eight Olympic coaches chosen to lead USA Basketball in the pursuit of an Olympic gold medal in women’s basketball. As an assistant coach, Yow was on the gold medal winning 1984 coaching staff in Los Angeles. In addition, she was an assistant on three more gold medal-winning teams, including the 1979 World University Games, the 1983 Pan American Games and the 1984 R. Williams Jones Cup. Yow also was part of the 1983 World Championship club that earned a silver medal.
Yow was the head coach of the gold medal-winning Olympic team in Seoul, Korea, in 1988. She also headed up gold medal winners at the 1981 World University Games, the 1986 Goodwill Games and the 1986 World Championship Games.
She has the distinction of being the first coach to win two Olympic gold medals since the first women’s basketball Olympic year in 1976.
The Mildred “Babe” Zaharias Didrikson Courage Award is named in honor of the former Olympic track and field gold medalist and champion golf pro that won five tournaments, including the U.S. Open, after being diagnosed with cancer during the prime of her career.
Yow received the Academy's Order of the Eagle Exemplar medal and Academy Rosette. The Academy's Order of the Eagle Exemplar medallion was designed by the Academy's Sport Artist of the Year 1990, Blair Buswell. She also received the Academy Rosette, modeled after the Legion of Honour, which was instituted by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802. A rosette is a symbol of recognition and affiliation.
The award has been presented annually since 1986 as part of the Academy’s Award of Sport Medallion Series, which pays “Tribute to the Artist and the Athlete.” Past recipients have included Rocky Bleier, Jim Abbott, Lance Armstrong, Roy Campanella and Scott Hamilton. For a complete list of honorees, please visit www.asama.org.
The United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and the world with programs in instruction, research and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports.