Opelika, Ala. – University of Tennessee Lady Vol basketball coach Pat Summitt was informed of the passing of longtime friend and N.C. State coach Kay Yow early this morning at her hotel in Opelika, Ala. Summitt and her number 10/12-ranked Lady Vol squad are preparing to take on number 6/5-ranked Auburn on Sun., Jan. 25 in a key Southeastern Conference meeting.
Coach Summitt released the following thoughts about Yow:
“My heart goes out to the Yow family and the N.C. State Wolfpack nation on the passing of a truly remarkable lady and a dear friend in Kay Yow.
“In the two decades she fought the disease, Kay never allowed herself to be victimized by cancer. Kay never pitied herself. Instead, she tried to bring awareness to the horrible disease that was robbing her of her life. Through her foundation in conjunction with the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) – The Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund, in partnership with The V Foundation for Cancer Research, she did all that she could do to help others. That was just Kay.
“Helping to get the cancer fund off the ground put Kay on a mission. She fought for cancer funding the same way she fought the disease… positive and determined every step of the way.
“Kay was passionate about life and coaching. She was a giver and she gave so much to every life she touched. She made a difference in the lives of so many people, not just the life lessons she shared with her student-athletes at Elon or North Carolina State.”
Summitt on coaching with Kay Yow in the 1984 Olympics:
“I was a young coach of 32 when I was asked to coach the 1984 Olympic Team. When I decided who my number one assistant would be, I knew that I had to choose someone who would be loyal…who knew the game…someone I could trust and someone with great wisdom. When it came time to make that decision, I picked Kay Yow.
“Kay had great wisdom. She had a special way of telling you things that you really didn’t want to hear but needed to. Kay was not a ‘yes’ woman. She accepted the challenge of helping me to bring home the first gold medal to the United States in women’s basketball. It was a daunting task but Kay made it so much easier by helping to relieve the pressure.
“She was an excellent communicator and had such a great rapport with our Olympic players. I learned so much from her on how to better communicate with your players. She definitely always knew the pulse of our team and had a calmness about her that was so settling to me as a young coach trying to bring home the gold while playing in front of the home team USA fans.
“Those memories that I shared with Kay will last a lifetime and I will always look back at them fondly and think of her.”