|WNBA President Donna Orender and N.C. State coach Kay Yow share a laugh during the 2007 WNBA Draft.|
|Gregory Shamus/NBAE/Getty Images|
The Award was introduced by the WNBA in 2007 and is designed to honor coaches who have positively influenced athletes across numerous levels and whose achievements leave an indelible mark on sports as a whole.
One of the most admired and respected coaches in all of sports, Yow has coached 37 years at the college-level and has led her teams to a combined record of 726-336 and is one of only five Division I head women’s basketball mentors to achieve 725 career victories. She has guided her squads to 20 of 27 NCAA Tournaments, 11 trips to the Sweet 16, and a trip to the Elite Eight and Final Four in 1998, and has collected five ACC Regular Season Championships, four ACC Tournament titles, amassed 20, 20-win seasons and a staggering 29 winning seasons. Her career record is fourth among active coaches in the NCAA and in 2003-04 she won her 650th game to become the first ACC women’s basketball coach to eclipse that special milestone. Under her leadership, 13 former players have gone on to either coach or play in the WNBA, the eighth-most among all college basketball programs.
In 2006, Yow was forced to take a leave of absence, four games into the season, due to progression in her breast cancer which was originally diagnosed in 1987. She missed 16 games before making a triumphant return to the bench, leading her Wolfpack squad to 10 wins in their next 11 games, including her 700th career victory. The team, inspired by their coach’s strength and perseverance, earned NC State’s 11th trip to the Sweet 16 that year.
Yow’s basketball accomplishments have been recognized through numerous coaching awards and hall of fame inductions, including the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, but her influence resonates off the court as well. She helped create the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund, an organization committed to being a part of finding an answer in the fight against cancer through raising money for scientific research, assisting the underserved and unifying people for a common cause.
“Coach Yow’s extraordinary leadership not only spurs the best out
of her players and their success on the court, but also inspires an entire community
of supporters and fans,” said WNBA President Donna Orender. “She leads
by personifying the qualities you hope for in the next generation of female
athletes – courage, integrity and passion – and our game is better
A special presentation of the award will be held at the WBCA 4Kay Events-in-a-Box Campaign event on Monday, April 7 at 4pm, taking place at the Tampa Marriott Waterside.