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Debbie Yow Named Athletics Director

Deborah A. Yow has been named director of athletics at NC State, Chancellor Randy Woodson announced Friday.

Yow, 58, younger sister of the late Kay Yow who coached NC State women’s basketball for 34 years, comes to NC State after 16 years as director of athletics at the University of Maryland. Under Yow’s leadership, Maryland teams have won 20 national championships and consistently graduated student-athletes—with the upcoming federal graduation rate report reflecting an all-time high of 80 percent.

“We could not have hired a better person and better administrator than Debbie Yow,” Woodson said. “At an academically challenging institution, she has led a program that has won on the field of competition and met strong academic standards.

“At NC State, we have the foundation of great facilities and a passionate fan base. Debbie Yow will build on that foundation and take our athletics program to a higher level. We welcome her to the Wolfpack family.”

At NC State, Yow will lead a program that includes 23 teams, revenue of about $40 million and 172 full-time employees. She will officially begin the job on July 15 at an annual base salary of $350,000.

“I am greatly honored to be the athletic director at North Carolina State and look forward to working with Chancellor Woodson. We will build on the strengths of this athletics program and this university and move forward. My family has been part of the Wolfpack Family for many years. I am glad to be home.”

Nationally Known

Yow has served as president of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics and the national Division I-A Athletic Directors Association. She is a member of the Board of Directors of the National Football Foundation, as well as the Board of Directors of USA Football and has served on the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Academic Enhancement Committee, as well as having represented the ACC on the NCAA Management Council.

Street and Smith’s Sports Business Journal and the Chronicle of Higher Education have cited Yow as being among the 20 most influential people in college athletics. She was selected to serve on the President’s U.S. Department of Education’s Commission on Opportunities in Athletics to review the status of Federal Title IX regulations. She earlier served as the chair of the Atlantic Coast Conference Committee on Television, which is charged with overseeing the league’s TV contracts and other related broadcast issues.

Yow is the first woman to lead NC State’s athletic program. She was also the ACC’s and Maryland’s first female athletic director, as well as the only woman to serve as president of the Division IA Athletics Directors Association. She succeeds Lee Fowler, who is stepping down on June 30 after 10 years as the NC State athletics director.

After taking over as athletics director at Maryland in 1994, she and her senior staff led efforts to enhance the academic support services for student-athletes, leading to an improved graduation rate (Exhausted Eligibility Graduation Rate (EEGR) is 85 percent); expanded marketing and fund-raising efforts, yielding a more than 300 percent increase in private gifts and corporate sponsorships; and led a $180 million upgrade of athletic facilities, including the building of the 440,000 square foot Comcast Center as the new home for intercollegiate athletics and the expansion of Byrd Stadium, the home to Maryland football.

When she took over the program, it carried an unfunded debt of $51 million, which has since been paid down to $5.5 million, while consistently balancing the annual operating budgets, funding the facility improvements and winning national championships.

In 2009, the NCAA News named Maryland as one of the top 10 athletics programs in the nation.

Yow is known as an excellent administrator and leader with a goal-oriented and proactive management style. Originally from Gibsonville, N.C., Yow began her career as a high school basketball coach at Walter Williams High School in Burlington and Eastern Guilford High School in Gibsonville. She also coached at the University of Florida, Oral Roberts University and the University of Kentucky before moving into athletics administration at Florida and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. She served as athletics director at St. Louis University for four years before accepting the Maryland position.

She has written numerous articles and books on athletics management and human behavior. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Elon University and a master’s degree from Liberty University.

Responses (12 Comments)

  • norman lubus family

    Dear Ms. Yow,

    After last night’s fiasco at Wisconsin, it should come to your mind that our head coach, while being a sweet gentleman,
    simply does not know how to do it. Nor do the other coaches. This will not be a building year for that is what
    was being said ever since Coach Lowe arrived.

    The players are disorganized and clearly without a well coached game plan. You will continue to see this as the
    year progresses. Coach Lowe is not worthy of $1 Mil per year…It’s a shame.

  • kevin moser

    Get rid of Lowe now before the season is a total loss!!!

  • Eugene Montgomery

    Our most recent two games, in which we had substantial leads, give clear evidence of serious problems in the coaching. Indeed Coach Lowe is a folk hero at NCSU, but that is not sufficient justification for keeping him in a job that he is not able to handle.

  • Pack fan in need

    Hopefully next year will be a rebuilding year for our Basketball coaching staff in the form of a new coach. Another year in the cellar. This is one to many in recent years.

  • Gregg Anderson

    Please do not alienate another Wolfpack hero. This University is hungry for winners. Sidney was one of the last winners we have known. We gave Herb 10 years and only received mediocre results, why run off a member of our family who can make a difference?

  • Bob M.

    Tonight Duke embarrased us at Cameron and C.J. Leslie has been suspended. Earlier, Javi Gonzalez was disciplined for not being at practice on time….which should have been handled discreetly. Obviously, there are internal affairs that need to be addressed. Lowe is a good person but is not the leader of young men that NCSU desperately needs.

  • O. Boyd Cooke

    Dear Director Yow,

    I am an NCS graduate, class of 1961, and a retired Navy Officer. I was not always able to keep up with NCS sports because of homeporting/deployment commitments. I was able to view many of the 1983 NCAA Men’s BB Tournament games while on staff duty in Hawaii. I, like many, were impressed with all of the NCS team, including point guard, Sidney Lowe.

    I was glad to see Sidney Lowe chosen to be the men’s head coach; I felt it would return us to more of the NCS traditional game (Everette Case when I was there and Jim Valvano when I was able to watch in 1983) as opposed to the somewhat effective, but unappealing, game of Sidney’s predecessor.

    I am now convinced that, despite my strong desire that it would be otherwise, Sidney Lowe is not the coach for NCS. He seems to be able to recruit talented players, but, for whatever reasons, is not able to direct their efforts to play as an effective ACC college level team.

    I was a great fan and admirer of your mom. I am sure it will be difficult for you, as it surely would be for me, but I urge you to replace Sidney Lowe as the men’s basketball coach. You, without doubt, have a better view of this than I, but I just feel he’s had ample opportunity to improve the situation, and it just isn’t happening.

    I currently live in Connecticut, where I’ve lived since retiring from the Navy, so I do not get the opportunity to view many NCS games on TV. The few I get to watch, like tonight’s game against Duke on ESPN, have been excruciatingly painful. If I were watching an untalented group of players playing their hearts out and working as a team, I could, at least, commend the coach and hope for a better season down the road. That is not the case here.

    I hope I have not contributed to the difficulties of your position. This is the first time I have ever tried to communicate with the NCS Athletic Department. I just feel strongly about, mainly, the image of NCS basketball. We can do better than this!


    Boyd Cooke
    NCS Class of 1961
    BS in Nuclear Engineering

  • Dale Crisp

    While I love Coach Lowe and all he has done for N.C. State both as a player and now as a coach, it is painfully present that he is not a ACC caliber college basketball coach. Therefore, now that our season is over after losing another very winnable game tonight, I hope your discussion with Coach Lowe will result in him vacating the position and the filling of the NCSU Mens Head Basketball Coach position with someone that can lead the program back to a championship level. Dale Crisp, CE’77

  • Chris Jones

    If Sydney Lowe is replaced, the one coach that should be considered is Mike Anderson, the Mizzou coach. He has won at UAB and Mizzou both. His teams play a high energy game which the fans would love and he wins.
    To my knowledge, his teams have never been in any kind of trouble and he would represent the University well.

    Just a Thought,

    Chris Jones
    Class of 1994

  • Jerry Wassil

    I think Jay Wright from VillaNova should be given consideration. He’s had an impressive record at small Universities Nova and Hofstra. What could he do with a larger school.

  • Frank Chapman

    I will be candid … I am a rabid “tarheel” fan …so needless
    to say I am sure WOLFPACK alumni/fans are wondering
    why I would be posting a comment on your message
    board. I am a diehard ACC fan as well … and a long
    time ago after Jim Valvano & NC STATE had won the
    national championship over HOUSTON … I had written
    him a congratulatory letter, further, I stated that I was
    a “tarheel” but I also believe that no matter how devout
    a CAROLINA fan I am I felt at that moment I needed
    to convey a …”job well done to him personally.” Well,
    within a few weeks I received a note from him thanking
    me for my comments, and making humorous reference
    to a “tarheel fan” congratulating WOLFPACK NATION!
    What does it take for the head coach of BUTLER to not
    be considered to be your next basketball coach? He
    took DUKE(YECH) to the edge last year and he just knocked off PITTSBURGH ..GO GET HIM for NC STATE
    and the conference at large !!!

  • my uncle, Ed Seaman passed away this a.m. He was the S.I.D @ NCSU from the early 70′s until the late 80′s. Please pass along to those who knew him


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