Interview with Susan Yow

Susan Yow was interviewed by Pam Richter on November 4, 2010

Susan Yow is the youngest of four siblings, including her older sister Kay who is one of the most well-renowned college basketball coaches in the history of the sport.  Kay is most known for her perseverance through her battle with breast cancer and recording one of the highest win totals in college basketball history.  Debbie Yow, another one of Susan’s older siblings, is the athletic director at N.C. State University, and their older brother played football at Clemson University.  Susan has made her mark on the athletic world as well.  Throughout her career, Susan has twenty four years of Division I coaching experience and spent four seasons coaching professional in the Women’s National Basketball Association.  She was born on August 5th, 1954 in Gibsonville, N.C. and is the current women’s basketball coach at Belmont Abbey College, located in Charlotte, N.C. 

Kay Yow’s cancer battle

It was hard.  It’s just hard.  But Kay handled it so well, it made it easier for everyone.  It really did.  As it got down to the last year and a half or so, we knew it was terminal.  We’ve always known that.  We knew it was level four cancer, but nobody knows your time or day part in this world.  As it got closer you could see the deterioration in her body, that was hard.  But Kay just did a great job handling it.  It made it really easier for everyone.  I don’t think you can ever prepare for death of someone, but having lost our mom to cancer and watching that, to me I was able to prepare myself a little bit for it.  I really was and to really ponder what it was going to be like not to have her here.  It was hard because she and I talked after every game I had ever coached.  Not to have her to pick up the phone to call her after a game was really really strange and really hard.  The year I was here, the rest of that season, I always called her and told her about the game.  But she made it easy, she really made easy how she handled things and her faith and just her enthusiasm for life.  She never lost that.  It was fun all the way up until the very very end until probably the last three weeks and then she was so weak and was in the hospital and stayed in the hospital and that was a hard time.  But, many many people go through it, you just deal with it

Listen to the audio of Susan’s response about her sister’s cancer battle.

A lesson Kay taught her

One thing she taught me and she kind of taught me this when I was at Elon – whatever you do, do your very very best.  Whatever you do, just do your very very best.  It’s what’s on the inside that counts really.

Listen to the audio of Susan’s response about a lesson her sister taught her.

Challenges with coaching

It’s just a lot of pressure.  I admire those people that do it and can do it with great integrity and not lose their values and not be bought, not sell their soul and put your head down every night.

Listen to the audio excerpt about Susan’s thought on the challenges with coaching.

Difference between men’s and women’s basketball

The biggest difference is an age old problem or concern.  They play above the rim, we play below the rim.  They really do and that’s the biggest difference.  ‘Cause you know we can’t dunk, we can’t do alley oops.  And for that reason we don’t have the power the men have in the game as far as the thrust, and we don’t have the speed nor the quickness that they have, but other than that I think in some regards I think our game might be better because I think we are more fundamental and we play more as a unit and we’re not individualized so much because we don’t have that athleticism.

Listen to the audio about the difference in men’s and women’s basketball.

Religion

I think I was called here.  I think I’m supposed to be here.  My Christian faith is where all of my values are wrapped up in; everything is wrapped up in that, the Ten Commandments.  Doing to others that you have them do onto you, it’s all wrapped up into that.

Listen to the audio of Susan’s response about her values.

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