Saturday, January 24, 2009

Good-bye, Coach Yow.

Today NC State lost a tremendous leader in Coach Kay Yow to her battle with cancer. She will be dearly missed by everyone who knew her and even those who didn't. I had the opportunity to meet Coach Yow back in the early 1990's while a student at NC State. A couple of friends of mine, led by fellow student Scott Vogler, successfully helped petition the NCAA to let non-varsity-athlete students practice with women's athletic teams. Why did they need boys? Because at least at the time, it was very difficult to recruit enough girls of enough size to have a big enough second string. If your second string was small it was very hard to simulate playing against some of the teams you would face in the regular season.

The petition was successful and I and my friends got to help in practice. Coach Yow had simple instructions for us. We were for defense only. Straight man to man, no help defense, block out as hard as we physically could. No offense. At the mention of "no offense" she would see we were all a bit dejected and quickly added "unless you get a steal. You get one fast break opportunity at the other end and then hustle it back on defense." With that we had all the reward we could have asked for. I think we only got use of it a couple times, but those couple times were more than enough. It was like we were on her team, and for that we were grateful. So in a sense I can say I played for Coach Yow in Reynolds Coliseum on what would be come Kay Yow Court (later). I don't care if she was a women's coach and I'm a guy. I'm proud to have known her at least for a little bit.

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