Kay Yow’s memory lives on in the hearts of family, friends and former players, as well as a new memorial garden near Reynolds Coliseum.
Coaches’ Corner, dedicated in August, features a bronze statue of the Naismith Hall of Fame coach by Greensboro artist James Barnhill. Set in the shade on the west side of Reynolds, it’s surrounded by a walkway, benches for visitors and a landscape of plants that will bloom in pink, the color associated with her courageous fight against breast cancer.
“For Kay, two families mattered: the Yow family and the Wolfpack family,” said her sister Debbie Yow, who joined NC State as athletic director last month. “The combination of these two families completed her life, personally and professionally.”
Debbie Yow, who heard about plans for the memorial last year while Maryland AD, didn’t know whether she’d be able to attend at that point. But on Tuesday, she was on hand to help officially unveil the statue, along with her sister, Susan, brother, Ron, and their uncle.
The idea to honor Yow, Wolfpack women’s basketball coach for 34 years, grew out of a student suggestion during campus elections.
Jeffrey Johnson, a senior finance major and student elections director, said the depth of support for Coach Yow made it easy to raise the $50,000 in donations needed to complete the project.
In April, students turned out at 8 a.m. on a Saturday to help with the planting, which preceded the spring Kay Yow football game.
“I was never fortunate enough to meet Coach Yow,” Johnson told the crowd. “Doing the project was a way I got to know her without meeting her.”
In the back of the crowd, members of the Wolfpack women’s basketball team gathered under clear skies after a morning of drenching rain. Senior Brittany Strachan, a member of the team when Kay Yow died in January 2009, stood next to sophomore point guard Marissa Kastanek, one of the last players Yow recruited.
“We stuck together really well last year and played together under Coach [Kellie] Harper,” Kastanek said. “We keep Coach Yow in our sights. She’s above us every day.”