College basketball: Search for Yow’s successor begins at NCSU

Published 12:00 am Friday, February 27, 2009

By Aaron Beard
Associated Press
RALEIGH ó The arduous process of trying to replace Kay Yow has begun at N.C. State.
Complicating the already difficult task is the support for interim coach Stephanie Glance, who Yow hand-picked to be her successor but whom athletic director Lee Fowler isn’t ready to give the position.
The school has set up a 14-member committee as part of a national search to replace Yow, the face of the Wolfpack women’s basketball program for three decades before her death last month following a long fight against cancer.
“The main thing is you’ve got to end up with the right person,” Fowler said. “That is on my shoulders. Some other people will criticize whoever I hire, no matter how we go about it, just because it wasn’t who they wanted to hire. Everybody has a different opinion of what you should do, and I need to move forward to do what I think is best for the program.”
N.C. State’s emotionally wrenching season will likely end next week at the ACC Tournament, and Fowler hopes to have someone in place by early April.
To many, N.C. State already has a logical choice in Glance.
Glance, who has spent 15 seasons in Raleigh, led the program each time Yow stepped away to focus on her fight against a disease she was first diagnosed with in 1987. She took over as interim coach in January when Yow announced she would not return this year.
Yow missed two games after the disease recurred during the 2004-05 season and 16 more as it progressed two seasons later. Glance led the team to an 11-7 record in those games. This year, N.C. State is 8-9 under Glance.
She has said she’s interested in the job but won’t speculate on her chances beyond that.
“I just really am focused on the team right now and continuing to be there for this group of people in any way that I can,” she said after a 74-57 loss to North Carolina on Monday. “And our staff feels the same way. We’re just really focused on finishing off the regular season on a really high note.”
Glance’s comments came shortly after longtime UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell weighed in on the issue without being asked.
“It doesn’t mean anything, but I’m going to say it anyway: I think they need to just go ahead and name her the coach because there’s no doubt she deserves it and she’s doing a great job with this team,” Hatchell said. “I’m hoping they would do that, and I know that’s what Kay wanted.”
Fowler knows that, too. Yow and Glance visited him a few years ago so that Yow could request for Glance to be designated the coach-in-waiting. Ultimately, Fowler told Yow that hiring for major jobs at the university ó in academics or athletics ó needs to go through a search process.
“She wanted to hold recruiting together because she felt like with her sickness it was getting tougher and tougher, so at least those kids would know who was going to be there for the long period,” Fowler said. “And the other thing was she has a family of (former Wolfpack players) coaching for her, so she felt like it would be nice to keep that family together.
“I by no means think the family will fall apart if it turns out that Stephanie is not the best choice. But if she is, then I’m fine with that, too. … I think Stephanie definitely understands, and I think Kay understood what we were saying.”
Fowler said Yow was ready to retire when she met with him last month to discuss her plans for the rest of the season, but he encouraged her to put off a decision until the end of the year to make sure she was ready for that.
Now he’s the one making the tough decision.
“She’s definitely left a void in our department because she was such a great person,” he said. “But I don’t think that will add to my stress level of trying to hire the right person.”