Debbie Yow becomes first female athletic director

By Brent Kitchen

Chancellor Randy Woodson introduced Debbie Yow, younger sister to the late Kay Yow, as N.C. State’s next athletics director at a mid-day press conference Friday.

“Today is a great day for the Wolfpack family,” Woodson said.

Yow, a Gibsonville, N.C. native, said she is excited to be coming back home to the university she held in such high regard as a child.

“It’s really good to be home where I was born and raised,” Yow said.

Yow spent the last 16 years as athletics director at the University of Maryland, during which time Maryland teams won 20 national championships. In addition, Yow has also coached women’s basketball at Kentucky, Florida and Oral Roberts University. She also served as athletics director at St. Louis University before taking the position at Maryland.

Woodson cited Yow’s experience as the primary reason for hiring her.

“We were looking for someone with impeccable experience,” Woodson said.

Yow will replace Lee Fowler, who will leave the position June 30 following a 10-year tenure at State. She said that although the task will be challenging, she will focus on reuniting a fan base that has been fractured by underperformance in recent years.

“The number one thing is to bring [the fans] together–winning,” Yow said.

But she stressed that fans need to be patient when looking for on-field results.

“Achieving these goals will be a process,” Yow said. “This is not an event.”

Yow also said the athletics department will set up an e-mail where fans can send any concerns they may have, including concerns about ticketing and parking. A member of the department will be charged with maintaining the account and will have the authority to respond to e-mails. This will be done to provide customer service to fans, according to Yow. But she noted that her primary concern is the performance of the program, not the feelings towards her.

“I’d rather win than be popular,” Yow said.

Yow will begin her tenure July 15 with a base salary of $350,000 per year over five years. She is N.C. State’s first female athletics director and is the only woman to serve as President of the Division IA Athletics Directors Association.

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