Yow to miss rest of the season

Published 8:26 pm Wednesday, January 7, 2009

By By AARON BEARD, AP Sports Writer
RALEIGH — Kay Yow once again has to leave her North Carolina State program to focus on her fight against cancer.
In a statement released by the school Tuesday afternoon, the Hall of Fame coach said she will not return to the team this season due to health issues related to her battle against the disease she was first diganosed with two decades ago. Yow, who has missed the past four games, said she just doesn’t have the energy to coach the way she always has before.
Yow said she will revisit the decision no later than the end of the season. Her contract runs through the 2011-12 season.
Yow, 66, was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1987. The disease recurred in the 2004-05 season, forcing her to miss two games while attending an eight-day nutritional modification program. She also missed 16 games to focus on treatment two seasons ago before returning to lead her team on an emotional late-season run.
Associate head coach Stephanie Glance has led the program in her absence and will continue as the interim coach.
Yow ranks as one of the game’s winningest coaches with 737 career victories in 38 years. She has also coached the U.S. Olympic team to the gold medal in 1988, and earned four Atlantic Coast Conference tournament championships, 20 NCAA tournament bids and an appearance in the 1998 Final Four during her 34 years at N.C. State.
The Wolfpack (8-7) travels to unbeaten and second-ranked North Carolina on Sunday. Before Tuesday, the focus of that game was Tar Heels coach Sylvia Hatchell — who was an assistant to Yow in the ’88 Olympics — potentially going for her 800th career win against her longtime friend and rival.
Hatchell said that milestone doesn’t matter compared to Yow’s situation.
Yow has handled her long fight against the disease with grace, saying she hoped she could inspire others while also noting that she felt better when she was around her players. Along the way, she’s received countless cards, letters and e-mails from well-wishers, who often stop her to say hello when she runs errands around Raleigh.
The school has set up a link for fans to send Yow a message of support through its athletics web site.
Yow said she is hopeful she’ll feel well enough to attend some of the N.C. State’s ACC games to support the team.
Earlier Tuesday, Dr. Mark Graham, Yow’s oncologist, said he has been trying to ‘‘tweak’’ her treatment program to get her feeling ‘‘as well as possible.’’ Yow has been on hormonal therapy as the disease has spread to her liver and bone.
In addition to the disease itself and its treatment, Graham said Yow isn’t ready for the physical demands of being a head coach right now — everything from roaming the sideline and walking up and down stairs to locker rooms, to being at practices and team functions.
Graham, who said Yow is being examined every few days, compared Yow’s attitude to a golfer who ‘‘feels she needs to walk the course.’’