PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- It was only fitting that the Jimmy V Foundation for Cancer Research launched an initiative honoring Kay Yow after she spent so many years at North Carolina State with the late Jim Valvano.
The Hall of Fame coach, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1987, is lending her name to the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer fund, announced Monday at a news conference before No. 3 Maryland played fourth-ranked Rutgers in the sixth annual Jimmy V Women's Basketball Classic.
"Kay and Jim shared a passion for winning and that passion will now also be applied to fighting cancer with hopefully the same winning result they had on the court," said Nick Valvano, chief executive of the V Foundation. "It was a no-brainer. They both shared the same courage. About the only difference is my brother had nowhere near the humility that she has."
Valvano led N.C. State to an improbable national championship in 1983. He was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 1992, and died not long after announcing the formation of the V Foundation the following year.
The Women's Basketball Coaches Association will launch its support of the initiative with the 4Kay run/walk as part of Final Four festivities on April 5.
"I'm extremely excited," Yow said. "It's an honor for me to be a part of this great foundation."
Yow learned she had stage-four cancer last November, but despite her illness has remained upbeat and positive.
"It all started with my mother," Yow said. "She died of cancer the same year Jim did. She was a great example who always saw the silver lining."
Last year, Yow missed most of N.C. State's season before returning for the Wolfpack's emotional run to the round of 16 in the NCAA tournament.
The N.C. State coach has more than 700 career wins. She was also one of the only people who could get Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma and Tennessee coach Pat Summitt in the same room to do a TV promo for the new initiative that was set to debut Monday night.
"We're all competitive on the court," Yow said, "but rally together for a great cause."