Jan. 24, 2009

Courtesy of WBCA

ATLANTA -The Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) and the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund, in partnership with The V Foundation for Cancer Research, announce the heartbreaking loss of North Carolina State head women’s basketball coach Kay Yow.  Yow passed away this morning after facing three bouts with breast cancer.  

“Coach Kay Yow had a remarkable career in the sport of women's basketball,” said Oklahoma Head Coach and WBCA President Sherri Coale. “Her resume and associated accolades reveal her professional excellence, but her legacy will be the remarkable impact she had on all with whom she came in contact. In sickness and in health she was a bastion of courage and kindness.  Her zest for life and her determination to make a difference in this world have galvanized our profession while inspiring millions.”

“Words cannot even begin to express the impact that Coach Yow had on me personally and on this Association,” said WBCA CEO Beth Bass. “I have known her for 32 years, and she is by far one of the most amazing people I have had the opportunity to get to know.  Her legacy and impact will continue to live on even in her passing through her Foundation leading us toward a cure.  Our thoughts and prayers go out to her friends and family.  This is a very sad day for all of us.”  

“What a sad day for all of us with the loss of such a dear coach, friend and mentor, Kay Yow,” said Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund President Marsha Sharp.  “It is humbling to serve as the President of the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund, and to have the opportunity to uphold her legacy of faith, integrity, inspiration and leadership through the Fund.  I am positive that she would want us all to unite and find a way to continue the battle that she fought for years.  We WILL find a cure for cancer.”

Yow is a past president and founding member of the WBCA, and served as a leader and a galvanizing voice for the Association.  She was an Olympic Gold Medal head coach in 1988, NCAA® Elite Eight® and Women’s Final Four® coach in 1998, Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame inductee in 2000, as well as a Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame inductee in 2002.  Yow won the inaugural Jimmy V ESPY for Perseverance at the 2007 ESPY Awards. Yow was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1987.

In December 2007, Yow established the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund in partnership with The V Foundation as a 501 c(3) charitable organization committed to being a part of finding an answer in the fight against women’s cancers through raising money for scientific research, assisting the underserved and unifying people for a common cause.

“I am honored to have a Fund established in partnership with The V Foundation that bears the name of Kay Yow,” said Nick Valvano, Chief Executive Officer of The V Foundation for Cancer Research.  “Her courage, faith and legacy will continue to live on in the hearts of those she helped to inspire throughout her coaching career and battle with cancer.”

Yow, 66, had been supported by her family and her staff in the last several days and was even able to visit with her entire team at WakeMed Cary Hospital earlier this week.

In lieu of sending flowers, donations can be made to the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund at www.JimmyV.org, by calling 1-800-4JimmyV, or by mailing checks to the WBCA with attention Megan Smith at 4646 Lawrenceville Hwy. Lilburn, GA 30047. All donations are tax deductible.  Visiting and funeral arrangements will be posted on www.wbca.org as soon as they are available.

To share your thoughts and prayers with the family or memories of Yow, click here.  

About the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund
The Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund is a 501 c(3) charitable organization committed to being a part of finding an answer in the fight against women’s cancers through raising money for scientific research, assisting the underserved and unifying people for a common cause.

About The V Foundation
The V Foundation is a charitable organization dedicated to saving lives by helping to find a cure for cancer. The Foundation seeks to make a difference by generating broad-based support for cancer research and by creating an urgent awareness among all Americans of the importance of the war against cancer. The V Foundation performs these dual roles through advocacy, education, fundraising and philanthropy.

About the WBCA
Founded in 1981, the WBCA promotes women’s basketball by unifying coaches at all levels to develop a reputable identity for the sport and to foster and promote the development of the game as a sport for women and girls.  For additional information about the WBCA, please visit wbca.org.