Yow received her Bachelor of Science degree in English from East Carolina University in 1964, and her Master's degree in Physical Education from the UNC-Greensboro in 1970. She was selected the "Outstanding Alumnus" by UNC-Greensboro in 1982 for excellence in her profession. On January 11, 2001, she reached the 600-win milestone for her career with a 71-64 win over Temple University. On February 5, 2007, she reached the 700-win milestone for her career with a 68-51 win over Florida State University.
On February 16, 2007, the basketball court at Reynolds Coliseum was renamed Kay Yow Court at Reynolds Coliseum in her honor. In recognition for her dedication and success, Yow was selected for enshrinement into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000 and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on June 5, 2002. In 2009 he was elected to the FIBA Hall of Fame.
Ongoing Battle with Breast Cancer
In 1987, Yow was diagnosed with breast cancer, which went into remission. In 2004, the cancer returned, and she underwent diet changes, oral hormonal therapies and radiation.
However, on November 22, 2006, it was reported that the cancer was progressing and Yow announced that she would take a leave of absence from the team for an indefinite period of time to focus on her health, including chemotherapy.
On January 22, 2007, Yow returned as head coach for the Wolfpack.
The Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund launched on December 3, 2007 as the first women's initiative that the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) has chosen in its 26-year history. The Fund is also the newest women's initiative for The V Foundation for Cancer Research.
The Yow family forms a veritable dynasty in women's basketball. Parents Hilton and Lib Yow played at Gibsonville High School and used their skills to land jobs during the Great Depression at a textile mill with competitive industrial league teams. Hilton Yow's cousin, Virgil Yow, was a renowned coach at High Point College and for the AAU national champion Hanes Hosiery Girls.
Her two sisters are also active in collegiate sports. Deborah Yow is currently the Athletic Director at the University of Maryland, College Park, and Susan Yow coached women's basketball at University of North Carolina at Wilmington, Kansas State University, Drake University, East Tennessee State University, and Providence College. Susan has also served as an assistant coach to the WNBA teams, the Charlotte Sting and the Cleveland Rockers. In 2006, Susan was named as an assistant coach with the Minnesota Lynx, but resigned with head coach Suzie McConnell Serio on July 23, 2006.