(Dedicated to my sister Elizabeth and the legacy she leaves behind. Her love of Jesus Christ impacted everyone she met.)
“I am able to do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
– Philippians 4:13
Kay Yow, legendary women’s basketball coach at North Carolina State, left a legacy! When we add up the victories and accomplishments of her coaching career, it is indeed impressive. Yow won 737 games, coached North Carolina State to four Atlantic Coast Conference tournament championships, 20 appearances in the NCAA tournament and one Final Four in 1998. She coached the United States women’s team to gold medals at the 1988 Seoul Olympics, the 1986 World Championships and the 1986 Goodwill Games. In 2000, Yow was named the Division I women’s basketball Coach of the Year and was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame in 2002. What a legacy! But the numbers and awards are not what we remember most about Kay Yow.
Her three time battle with breast cancer and how she faced her trials head on are what is remembered by those whose lives she touched. Yow refused to feel sorry for herself. “I don’t think, Why me?” “I don’t think anything, it’s life. As you go through life, it’s just inevitable that you’re going to face tough times.” Her players say she taught them more than basketball skills. She touched them with her presence. Despite her failing health, Yow was selfless, never missing a day. What was the source of Kay Yow’s strength? When asked by a player how she was doing, she responded, “ I am great because God allowed me to wake up this morning.” Nothing is going to happen today that God can’t handle!” A humble warrior who cared about people, lived with a passion, and made a difference in the lives of others is how Coach Yow is remembered. Now that is a legacy worth leaving behind.
Heavenly Father, thank you for Coach Yow’s legacy and those like her. Teach me today that with Your strength, I can do all things. Keep me humble and give me a heart to seek You with passion. Amen.