Former women’s head basketball coach Kay Yow will be honored in Raleigh tonight with the Naismith Good Sportsmanship Award.
Presented by the Naismith International Basketball Foundation, the award celebrates contributions to basketball on and off the court.
Yow died of breast cancer in 2009.
“No one demonstrated the value associated with the award like Kay,” says Don Fish, the executive director of the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame. “She promoted the game like no other. She has mentored so many youngsters. I don’t know anyone who does not look up to Kay Yow. She is simply the best of the best.”
Yow, who was inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame in 1989, will be honored alongside Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski and UNC legend Dean Smith.
“I think it’s three different people,” says Ian Naismith, founding director of the Naismith International Basketball Foundation and grandson of Dr. James Naismith, who invented the sport of basketball. “They all have the same standards.”
Athletics Director and sister Debbie Yow says Kay Yow respected no standard more than winning the right way with integrity and the respect for the “personhood of all players.”
“I don’t think Kay ever really tried to create a place for herself,” says Debbie Yow, who adds that she wishes her sister was here to accept the award personally. “She acted on her own values. This is another well-deserved honor in my opinion.”
In conjunction with tonight’s activities, Gov. Beverly Perdue has officially proclaimed today “Basketball Day.”