NC State's Yow wins Jimmy V award at ESPYs

By Taylor Auten Technician

July 19, 2007

Raleigh, NC (CSTV U-WIRE) -- In March of 1993, Jim Valvano received the Arthur Ashe Courage Award at the first annual ESPY award ceremony in Madison Square Garden.

Almost 15 years later, Valvano's former colleague and friend Kay Yow accepted the first-ever Jimmy V award for perseverance at the ESPY award ceremony in Los Angeles.

"The award is so special to me because it's the first Jimmy V ESPY award for Perseverance," Yow said. "Having coached with him here for 10 years, having known him and his family as well as I do, to be the first recipient of that award in his name is special."

Coach Yow was given the award after returning from chemotherapy this spring to coach her team to the ACC Tournament championship game and the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.

Associate head coach Stephanie Glance said she has never seen a coach give so much to her team.

"She probably set a precedent in athletics, maybe on any level," Glance said. "I am not sure there has ever been a person who is battling stage four cancer and who is subjected to such heavy doses of chemo that still manages to coach their team."

Doctors diagnosed Yow with breast cancer in 1987, and she has been battling the disease ever since. Just four games into the 2006-2007 season, the disease forced Yow to take a leave of absence after tests showed her breast cancer was progressing.

After 16 games, Yow made her return to coach the Wolfpack to 10 wins out of the next 11 games, including a 72-65 victory over No. 2 UNC on the Wolfpack's Senior Night.

"It's probably the most significant season that I've ever been a part of in 20 years coaching," Glance said. "The significance of it runs so deep, through so many levels of who we are as people, and what is most important in life. There was so much more to this season than winning and losing basketball games. There was so much more to it. It was so inspirational to everyone that was involved with the team this year."


Glance, along with assistants Jenny Palmateer, Trena Trice-Hill and Director of Basketball Operations Robin Pate accompanied Yow to Los Angeles for the award ceremony.

Yow and her staff met Dwyane Wade, Peyton Manning, Maria Sharapova and many of the other athletes and coaches present.

"I spoke with coach Dungy [of the Indianapolis Colts], and I just admire the job that he's done and how he's gone about it," Yow said. "I thought that I have a lot in common with him as a person. I enjoyed my conversation with him, and it was really great meeting him."

Yow said while seeing all the "Rolls Royces and Bentleys" at their hotel was a lot of fun, the highlight of their trip, particularly for her staff, was their side trip to meet [former UCLA coach] John Wooden.

"It was unbelievable really," Palmateer said. "We're all big John Wooden fans, and we got to meet him, which is unbelievable. Coach Yow is the female version of John Wooden, and to be able to actually meet him was really cool."

Meanwhile, Yow said she likes the concept of the award she won.

"I love that they are giving awards away like this," Yow said of both the Arthur Ashe and the Jimmy V award. "It really shows the value of sport, and what sport can do outside just the technical skills of the game. It shows the spirit and the value of sport to a greater degree."

While ESPN has not yet sent the ESPY trophy, Yow speculates she will place it beside the 1998 Final Four trophy, but then again, that's her prerogative.

(C) 2007 Technician via CSTV U-WIRE