Women's Hoops: Yow returns to Wolfpack

Published 12:00 am Monday, January 22, 2007

Associated Press

RALEIGH — Two months after cancer forced her away from basketball, North Carolina State coach Kay Yow still fights a disease that won’t let her rest.

The Hall of Famer showed little sign of backing down Monday as she announced she’d return to the team — even as she adapts to what her body will and won’t let her do.

“Of course, I’m always anxious to get back with the team but I have to be realistic about it,” Yow said.

“I told myself that I don’t want to get back with the team and it be a hindrance. I have to be able to make a contribution. I wanted to get back, but I wanted to be sure I could do that before I came back.”

The 64-year-old coach plans to resume her duties Tuesday, with her first game likely coming Thursday against Atlantic Coast Conference rival Virginia. Yow, first diagnosed with cancer in 1987, left the team in November after doctors found the cancer that first recurred during the 2004-05 season was progressing.

Longtime assistant Stephanie Glance has led the Wolfpack (13-7, 2-3 ACC) as interim coach for the past 16 games. N.C. State has lost two straight, falling to No. 1 Duke and No. 2 North Carolina in the past week.

Yow is in her 32nd season as head coach here and has a record of 696-321 in 36 seasons overall. She was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001 and coached the U.S. women’s team to a gold medal at the 1988 Seoul Olympics. She has led the Wolfpack to four ACC tournament titles, 19 NCAA tournaments and the 1998 Final Four.

“Kay is such a fixture, a pioneer for women’s basketball,” said North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell, an assistant to Yow in Seoul. “She’s done so many things to develop and grow the sport. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t owe a debt of gratitude to Kay.”

Still, Dr. Mark Graham, Yow’s longtime oncologist, called her treatments “life-extending” instead of curative.

“I think she’s had a good-to-excellent response at this point,” Graham said. “All of her disease is not gone.”