NC State’s legendary women’s basketball coach Kay Yow was a symbol of hope and courage, but she died early Saturday morning after a two decade public battle with breast cancer. Kay Yow came to the Wilmington area frequently; her sister, Susan, used to be the head coach of the women's basketball team at UNCW. Kay Yow was hired as NC State's first full time women's basketball coach in 1975 after spending four years coaching at Elon College. It did not take long for Yow to start winning and building a record most coaches only dream of. In 2002, she was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and since then, she eclipsed the 700 win mark. The court at NC State was officially named Kay Yow Court in her honor. She was also ESPN’s first recipient of the Jimmy V award, named after the men’s coach at NC State Jim Valvano who also died from cancer. In reflection of her career, Kay Yow had said, “I'm overwhelmed by how people tell me I've inspired them. I'm just doing the best I can. That's what I'm all about." During her 34 years at State, Yow guided the Wolfpack into the NCAA tournament 20 times while making 10 trips to the Sweet 16 and one Final Four appearance. Kay Yow's career also played out on the international stage. During the 1988 games, she was the head coach of the US womens' team, and brought home the gold. But over the last 22 years, Kay Yow fought a battle off the basketball court; a battle with breast cancer. “I found one of my purposes in dealing with it, was to speak out and help other people," Yow had said. Duke’s Coach K said of Yow, "I don't think any area of the country has brought about an awareness against cancer better than this one. God bless her and she's a terrific lady." N.C. State is asking fans who want to leave flowers in honor of Coach Yow at the Memorial Bell Tower instead of Reynolds Coliseum because Bill Clinton is scheduled to give a speech there Monday morning.
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