Debbie Yow Named NC State Athletic Director


A Yow once again is in the wolf den.

The surname Yow is not a common one, but it is well known to the North Carolina State University community.

Kay Yow, the very first Wolfpack women’s basketball coach who served for 34 years until her death in 2009, left behind much more besides her legacy including more than 700 wins, a bevy of dedicated former players and her passionate Christian faith. She also left behind two sisters, Susan and Debbie, the latter whose most recent position was as athletic director for the University of Maryland.

Athletic Director

Debbie Yow, NC State Athletic Director

On Friday afternoon, North Carolina State University held a news conference naming Debbie Yow as its own athletic director. Yow, who had previously been head coach for the Kentucky Wildcats and athletic director at Saint Louis University, had joined the Terrapins in 1994.

Upon arriving in College Park, Yow found an athletic program deeply in debt with more than $50 million owed. Over the years, Yow-raised contributions have reduced the athletic department’s debt to a much more manageable $7.6 million. And, she has helped raise Maryland’s visibility, with the men’s basketball and soccer teams winning national championships in recent years.

Wolfpack Challenges

Yow will be replacing Lee Fowler who agreed to step down as Wolfpack A.D. on June 30. Fowler leaves behind an athletic program that has lost its luster in recent years, including a football team that hasn’t had a winning record in five years and a men’s basketball overshadowed by perennial Triangle favorites Duke Blue Devils and North Carolina Tarheels.

After being introduced at a hastily arranged news conference, Yow outlined what she believed were some of the challenges facing the Wolfpack explaining that she would hold everyone to a higher standard, frequently using the words accountability, determination and values to emphasize her desire to elevate Wolfpack athletics.

Yow Legacy

Sister Kay Yow battled breast cancer for many years, first diagnosed with the disease in 1987. Between discovering cancer and her death, Kay kept on coaching and was behind what became known as the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund. Since her death, a number of tribute fundraising events have been held, raising more money for cancer research and helping to extend the lives of affected cancer sufferers.

In some ways Debbie Yow will be operating in her sister’s shadow, but more than likely will continue to make a name for herself.

As NC State Chancellor Randy Woodson said before Debbie was introduced, “We were looking for someone with impeccable experience.” In Debbie Yow they have found that person, a Gibsonville, NC native with strong roots in the community.


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Categories: Collegiate Sports