Deborah Ann Yow (born September 1, 1950) is an American college sports administrator and former college basketball coach. She was the director of athletics at North Carolina State University, and held the same position at the University of Maryland and Saint Louis University. She previously served as the head coach of the women's basketball teams of the University of Kentucky, Oral Roberts University, and the University of Florida.
|Born||September 1, 1950|
Gibsonville, North Carolina
|Alma mater||Liberty University|
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|Administrative career (AD unless noted)|
A native of Gibsonville, North Carolina, Yow attended East Carolina University but later dropped out. She then attended Elon University, where she played basketball and studied English. In 1987, Yow earned a master's degree from Liberty University in counseling. Yow married and later divorced Lynn Nance, a collegiate men's basketball coach. In 1983, Yow married Dr. William Bowden, a university administrator, while she was coaching at Oral Roberts University.
Women's basketball coach
Yow coached women's basketball at the University of Kentucky and Oral Roberts University, and also served as the women's basketball coach at the University of Florida where she took these three previously unranked teams into the top 20 national rankings. On January 10, 1985, she and the Gators won Yow's 150th career victory. After that season, Yow accepted a promotion in Gator athletics as an administrator and fundraiser. She averaged 20 wins per season over eight years as a head coach.
After coaching, Yow also served as an associate athletic director at the University of North Carolina-Greensboro. Saint Louis University hired Yow as its athletic director in August 1990. The media reported a strained relationship between her and the men's basketball coach Rich Grawer, which Yow denied. She fired Grawer after a 5–23 season and hired Charlie Spoonhour as his replacement. Spoonhour won the Henry Iba Coach of the Year Award for leading Saint Louis to the NCAA Tournament in the 1993–94 season and received a pay raise and contract extension through 2000. Yow remained at Saint Louis University for four years, until hired to the same position at the University of Maryland in August 1994.
At Maryland, Yow became the first female athletic director at any Atlantic Coast Conference school. Under Yow, the Maryland athletics department balanced its annual budgets, which had not been done in the previous decade and the department's debt was reduced from $51 million to $5.6 million. From 1994 to 2010, the school's athletic teams captured twenty national championships. Seventeen were in women's sports: women's lacrosse (8), field hockey (4), competitive cheer (4), and women's basketball (1). Three championships were claimed by two men's teams. Maryland men's basketball secured the 2002 title and men's soccer captured the 2005 and 2008 College Cups. U.S. News & World Report and Sports Illustrated ranked the Maryland athletics program in the nation's top 20 during Yow's tenure. In 2008, her salary was $365,925.00 according to public records.
Yow reportedly had a rocky relationship with Maryland men's basketball coach Gary Williams. In January 2009, the basketball team struggled early in its season, which led to Williams publicly trading barbs about recruiting with associate athletic director Kathy Worthington. In February, Yow issued a statement of support for Williams. During the 2009 row, John Feinstein wrote in The Washington Post, "Debbie Yow didn't hire Gary Williams. She can't take any credit for the program he built nor should she take any of the blame for its recent struggles." He added, "Does [Williams] get along with Debbie Yow? No, everyone knows that..."
Barry Gossett, the number one donor to Maryland athletics summarized the progress in Maryland athletics during Yow's tenure, "She inherited a difficult situation when she came in as far the debt and a lot of programs that were under-performing. She was able to make some necessary changes in staff, and she has really put a new face on the athletic department. She accepted the challenge as the school improved its rankings across the board... She has done a great job." Head women's basketball coach Brenda Frese [National Championship coach in 2006] said, "I think the biggest strength for Debbie is that from top to bottom, she knows how to run a department and allows every unit and every coaching staff member to be successful." Football coach Ralph Friedgen called Yow's accomplishments as AD at Maryland, "unprecedented."
Mike Ashley observed, "Yow's sixteen years at the helm of the program represented the longest tenure for a Maryland athletic director since legendary Curley Byrd ran the program from 1915 to 1935 before coming university president."
North Carolina State
On June 25, 2010, Yow accepted the job as athletic director at North Carolina State University. She was awarded a five-year contract with a $350,000 annual salary with a supplemental income of $100,000.
After the 2010–11 basketball season, Sidney Lowe resigned as Wolfpack coach after failing to make the NCAA tournament in his five seasons as coach. In early April 2011, Yow hired former Alabama coach Mark Gottfried as the new coach. In his first season, Coach Gottfried led the Wolfpack back to the Sweet 16 in the NCAA Tournament.
On November 25, 2012, Tom O'Brien was terminated, and NC State was obligated to pay $1.2 million of non-state funds to O'Brien as his contract runs through the 2015 season. However, NC State ended up only having to pay O'Brien $200,000 after the buyout was renegotiated so he could become an assistant at Virginia.
On December 1, 2012, Dave Doeren was announced as the new head coach of the NC State Wolfpack football team, with an estimated total annual compensation package of $1.9 million. It was the seventh change of a head coach at NC State under Yow in a little over two years. On March 17, 2017, Kevin Keatts was announced as the new head coach of the NC State Wolfpack basketball team.
Yow retired on May 1, 2019. Boo Corrigan took over as NC State Athletics Director on the same day.
Her two sisters also have been employed in athletics. Kay Yow was head coach of the NC State women's basketball team, and Susan Yow is the current head coach of the Belmont Abbey Crusaders women's basketball team. Her cousin, Virgil Yow, served as head basketball coach at High Point University, where he allowed the first female to play on the men's team.
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- John Feinstein, The Turtle Has Itself to Fear, The Washington Post, January 29, 2009.
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- Ashley, Mike (July 2010). "Tarrapin Times: With Carolina on her mind, Debbie Yow heads home after 16 years".
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- Report, Staff. "NC State names Boo Corrigan to replace Yow as AD". Technician. Retrieved 2019-03-26.
- NCSU's Yow dies after long cancer fight, Triangle Business Journal, 24 January 2009.
- Player Bio: Susan Yow, Providence College Friars athletics official website, accessed 6 December 2008.
- HOOPS PIONEER GAVE HIGHPOINT A BOOST ISENHOUR MADE HER MARK AT HIGH POINT, The News & Record, March 31, 1995.