Title: Oral History Interview with Sandra Kay Yow, June 22, 2005. Interview G-0244.
Interviewer: Grundy, Pamela
Interviewee: Yow, Sandra Kay
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.