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Oral History Interview with Sandra Kay Yow, June 22, 2005. Interview G-0244. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007).
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  • Abstract
    Gibsonville, North Carolina, native Kay Yow is one of the most accomplished and respected women's basketball coaches in the world. Between 1975 and 2005, her North Carolina State University teams compiled numerous league and tournament titles. In 1988—just a few months after she was diagnosed with breast cancer—she led the 1988 United States women's basketball team to the gold medal in the Seoul Olympics. She was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999. The interview covers many subjects, including Yow's childhood, an extensive discussion of her philosophy of leadership, an account of reactions to her announcement that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer, and an analysis of the ongoing challenges faced by female athletes and coaches as they seek to broaden their sport's appeal. She paints a portrait of a woman who personifies hard work and high standards, but who has sought to make the most of the circumstances in which she has found herself, rather than pursuing greater opportunities or radical changes. She attributes much of her approach to life and career to lessons taught her by her mother, who instilled both a respect for authority and a knack for looking at the bright side of situations.
    Excerpts
  • Introduction to basketball and childhood experiences in Gibsonville, North Carolina
  • Playing girls basketball at Gibsonville High School
  • Teaching self to become a basketball coach
  • Insufficient funding as primary obstacle in women's sports
  • Athletics as way for girls to learn to be assertive and disciplined
  • Need for more media attention to women's sports
  • Battling breast cancer as a survivor and as an activist
  • Learn More
  • Finding aid to the Southern Oral History Program Collection
  • Database of all Southern Oral History Program Collection interviews
  • The Southern Oral History Program transcripts presented here on Documenting the American South undergo an editorial process to remove transcription errors. Texts may differ from the original transcripts held by the Southern Historical Collection.

    Funding from the Institute for Museum and Library Services supported the electronic publication of this title.