Yow steps down for the season

January 6, 2009 3:48:35 PM PST
Despite Coach Kay Yow's optimism, she said she will not return to coaching this season. Yow made the announcement in a statement released by NC State Tuesday.

Associate head coach Stephanie Glance will serve as interim head coach.

"Stepping away from coaching is one of the hardest decisions I have had to make, but I have great confidence in the experienced staff I have been working with for such a long time and the character of everyone involved in the program to respond positively to my decision," Yow said.

Fans who want to send well wishes can do so on the Go Pack website

Her current health situation simply will not allow her to give the energy necessary to coach her team at the standard she feels it deserves. She will revisit this decision no later than the end of the season.

"It's a balance with her or any patient that has stage 4 metastatic breast cancer," Dr. Mark Graham, Yow's physician, told Eyewitness News in a phone interview. "It has spread from breast to other sites, causing more symptoms."

Coach Yow's absence from recent games has prompted a lot of speculation about her health.

Yow has had to balance the demands of a tumor being in her liver and bones for the last few years. She's undergone chemo, biological and hormonal therapies, causing her to miss 16 games.

The current situation is quite similar to the 2006-2007 situation when she was experiencing problems associated with the cancer.

Lately, Coach Yow has been absent because of physical limitations. Walking during games is too demanding.

Dr. Graham said she's on a fairly simple hormonal therapy.

Yow's attitude is the PGA requires the players walk the course, and she wouldn't coach from the golf cart. She feels that if she's going to coach, she should be able to walk, do the drills and teach.

The team misses her when she's not present, but it's a family setup and it's able to run without her.

"The overall aura of the program is different when Coach Yow is not there," Graham said. He added, she feels she must be fully there and not just a figure head. She doesn't feel comfortable just sitting on the bench.

Dr. Graham also said Yow's choices are her own and she decides when she will or will not coach. Accordingly, he makes regular changes in her program and course of treatment.

Now, Coach Yow is considering the question of coaching for the rest of the season. Graham said if it's possible, she wants to return to the bench.

Coach Yow is an unusual person," Graham said. "Wherever I go, she seems to have no enemies" and beyond that, "I don't think she's a sunny optimist, but she's a positive thinker. Her religion is an extremely important part of her optimism."

Graham described Yow as a strong Christian, and said her religion is an important part of her approach to life.

Yow was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1987, and the disease recurred in the 2004-05 season. She missed the game against Columbia in New York on Dec. 22 due to a low energy level, and has missed three home games since.

Yow also missed 16 games to focus on treatment two seasons ago.

The Wolfpack faces unbeaten and second-ranked North Carolina on Sunday.


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