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.”
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.