Sandra Kay Yow

The popularity women’s basketball enjoyed throughout the 1990s and into the new century has been a direct result of the painstaking work done by pioneers like Kay Yow. In a career that began at the Allen Jay High School in 1965 to her first college job at Elon College in 1971 to her legendary career at North Carolina State in 1976, Yow helped spur the dramatic change in women’s basketball. She was a pioneer in taking the women’s game from its modest AIAW beginnings to the enormous growth of the NCAA Tournament. For more than 20 years, Yow’s Wolfpack teams were among the best in the ACC and the nation, annually winning 20 or more games and being a mainstay in the NCAA championship title hunt. Yow’s teams mirrored her intensity – playing with passion and complete effort at both ends of the court. When Yow won her 500th game in 1998, she became only the third coach in women’s basketball history to reach that milestone. Upon enshrinement, Yow was the only women’s coach in history to win gold medals in both the Olympics and World Championships.