Legendary women’s basketball coach Kay Yow dies after courageous battle with cancer

Kay Yow, Elon's first women's basketball coach who went on to a legendary career coaching N.C. State's team, died Jan. 24 after a decades-long battle with breast cancer. She was 66.

A native of Gibsonville, N.C., Yow began her college coaching career in 1971 as head coach of Elon’s first women’s basketball team. In four seasons, she compiled a record of 57 wins, 19 losses, and led Elon to two state championships.

Yow won more than 700 games in a career filled with milestones. She coached the U.S. Olympic team to a gold medal in 1988, won four Atlantic Coast Conference tournament championships, earned 20 NCAA tournament bids and reached the Final Four in 1998.

She also was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame in 2002, while the school dedicated “Kay Yow Court” in Reynolds Coliseum in 2007. She was inducted in Elon’s Sports Hall of Fame in 1986.

But for many fans, Yow was best defined by her unwavering resolve while fighting cancer, from raising awareness and money for research to staying with her team through the debilitating effects of the disease and chemotherapy treatments. In her final months, Yow was on hormonal therapy as the cancer spread to her liver and bone.

Yow’s sister, Deborah Yow ’74, is an Elon trustee and director of athletics at the University of Maryland.

A public viewing will be held Friday, January 30th from 10:00 a.m. till 2:00 p.m. with the funeral to follow at 3:00 p.m. at Colonial Baptist Church in Cary. The burial will take place Saturday, January 31st, 10:00am at the Gibsonville Cemetery in Gibsonville.

The funeral arrangements were made by Brown Wynn Funeral Home of 200 SE Maynard Road in Cary.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to:

Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund
The V Foundation for Cancer Research
106 Towerview Court
Cary, NC 27513
Phone: 919-380-9505 (Toll free 1-800-4JimmyV)


Cary Alliance Church
4108 Ten Ten Road
Apex, NC 27539
(919) 467-9331

To read the Sports Illustrated story on Kay Yow’s death, click on the link at right.

(This story includes material reported by the Associated Press)