Friday, June 25, 2010

Home run hire for Wolfpack

NC State clearly made a great choice in luring Debbie Yow home from Maryland to be its next athletics director.

The Gibsonville native's appointment to replace Lee Fowler is indeed a wonderful family tale. Her late sister, Kay, was a legendary N.C. State women's basketball coach before finally losing her long battle with cancer. Her sister, Susan, was N.C. State's first all-American women's basketball player in 1976.

As heartwarming as that is, it pales in comparison to Debbie Yow's career accomplishments.

They alone would have made her a great choice for this job. Her family and geographical ties are mere icing on the cake.

Maryland's athletics director since 1994, Debbie Yow saw the Terrapins win 17 national championships under her leadership. They came in high-profile sports like men's basketball (2002) and women's basketball (2006). Plus Maryland also became dominant in women's lacrosse and field hockey, which combined to win 13 national championships.

And one particular situation she faced recently at Maryland will prepare her well for her new job.

The Terrapins aren't living up to past success in men's basketball and football. Yow publicly clashed with Gary Williams, the coach who led Maryland to the 2002 NCAA title, and has stuck with football coach Ralph Friedgen. While Friedgen coached Maryland to an ACC championship and Orange Bowl appearance in 2001, the Terps were a woeful 2-10 last season.

In Raleigh, she'll be challenged to improve the fortunes of N.C. State football (under coach Tom O'Brien) and men's basketball (under coach Sidney Lowe). The Wolfpack have gone 16-21 in three seasons under O'Brien. N.C. State is a pedestrian 71-62 in four seasons under Lowe and has yet to play in the NCAA Tournament in his tenure.

So welcome home Debbie Yow. The Wolfpack family clearly has a soft spot in its heart for you and your family. But come July 15, when you officially begin work, there's a serious job to be done.

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