Dr. Genia Beasley is honored, of course, to be part of the first class to be inducted into the NC State Athletics Hall of Fame.
But the fact that her former coach, the late Kay Yow, is also part of the class makes it particularly special for Beasley.
“That’s very sentimental for me,” Beasley told us in a recent interview. “She was there (at NC State) one year before I came, so we kind of started together.”
Beasley was Yow’s first blue-chip recruit at NC State, coming to the university in 1976, and certainly lived up to any praise she got coming out of high school in Benson, N.C. Beasley is NC State’s career leader in scoring (2,367 points) and rebounds (1,245). Beasley, a 6-foot-2 forward/center, also set career records in blocked shots (185) and double-doubles (60).
With Beasley leading the way on the court and Yow in charge from the bench, the Wolfpack won regular-season ACC titles in 1978 and 1980. The 1980 team also won the ACC tournament championship.
“I knew that we had a lot of potential,” Beasley says of her pairing with Yow. “I knew that we were going to win championships.”
Beasley says that Yow was competitive, but was not determined to win at any cost. “She was very respectful of people,” Beasley says. “She was very sensitive to other people’s needs. She took time to make everyone feel special.”
Asked about memorable moments from her days playing at NC State, Beasley recalls one game from her freshman year and another from her senior year.
When Beasley was a freshman, NC State played Immaculata, which had just won three consecutive national championships. Beasley and her teammates played well and the game was tied at the end of regulation, sending it to overtime. The Wolfpack ended up losing, 90-95, but Beasley says the Wolfpack team learned a powerful lesson.
“We were competitive with them,” she says. “We knew we could play with anybody.”
In Beasley’s senior year, it was obvious that NC State could play with anybody. The team went undefeated in conference play and went on to win the ACC tournament. “It was the first tournament that we won,” she says.
Beasley went on to play professionally and then work as an assistant college coach before becoming an optometrist. She lives and works in Charlotte, N.C.
Beasley attends the ACC tournament every year, but says she is rarely able to get to Raleigh for regular-season games. But she’ s looking foward to returning to Reynolds Coliseum on Friday for the Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
“To still be considered one of the best female athletes at State, that’s puts it into perspective,” she says. “I know there are a lot of people deserving to be in there. I’m very humbled to be in there.”