Debbie Ryan & Kay Yow receive the 2007 Bob Bradley Spirit & Courage Award (March 3, 2007) / photo by Mark Sutton
March 3, 2007
GREENSBORO, N.C. - Virginia's Debbie Ryan and NC State's Kay Yow are the two winningest coaches in Atlantic Coast Conference history, each having guided their teams to more than 600 victories, but they have earned perhaps even more admiration and respect for their personal battles with cancer.
In recognition of their outstanding accomplishments as coaches and for their public display of perseverance and leadership in the fight against cancer, the Atlantic Coast Sports Media Association (ACSMA) proudly presents its 2007 "Bob Bradley Spirit & Courage Award" to both Debbie Ryan and Kay Yow.
The Bob Bradley Award, named in honor of the late Clemson University sports information director who passed away in 2000 after a three-year battle with bone cancer, was established in conjunction with the ACC one year ago. It is awarded annually to a male or female basketball player, coach or team administrator who has overcome significant injury, illness or adversity in life to become a valuable contributor to his/her program and university.
Ryan and Yow unquestionably are worthy recipients.
In 30 seasons as head coach at Virginia, Ryan has compiled a 649-276 record and been named ACC Coach of the Year a record seven times, most recently in 2000. Later that same year, however, Ryan was faced with her most serious opponent, pancreatic cancer.
Ryan underwent surgery to remove a tumor and a series of radiation treatments during the offseason but remained as coach of the Cavaliers in the 2000-01 season. Last year, she celebrated her fifth anniversary of being cancer-free and continues as an active leader in fund-raising events for the University of Virginia Cancer Center.
Yow's 32-year career at NC State has seen her win 657 contests (657-309 record) and more than 700 overall games, including a four-year stint at Elon. She guided the United States team to the Olympic gold medal in 1988 and in 2002 was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
During the past 20 years of her career, Yow has also waged a fight against cancer - a fight that remains ongoing. She was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1987 and underwent a modified radical mastectomy. She endured a recurrence and further surgery in 2004. Earlier this season the Wolfpack coach took a leave of absence from her duties to undergo chemotherapy and other treatment, but returned to the sidelines on January 25.
Yow, like Ryan, has served as a leader in generating greater public awareness of the signs of cancer as well as in fund-raising activities for its treatment and prevention, including the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
The official presentation of the 2007 "Bob Bradley Spirit & Courage Award" will be made to Ryan and Yow prior to the second semifinal game of this year's ACC Women's Basketball Tournament.
Bob Bradley served as sports information director at Clemson from 1955-1989 and continued as a media relations representative for the Tigers until his death. He worked 502 straight Clemson football games (home & away) until having that streak ended on October 21, 2000, nine days before he passed away. He also worked 313 consecutive ACC Tournament games during his career. The Memorial Stadium pressbox at Clemson is named in his honor and he is a member of the Clemson and state of South Carolina athletic halls of fame. Throughout his three-year battle with bone cancer, which included more than 100 radiation treatments, he remained a fixture at Clemson events, representing the Tigers in his own unique style. His service to the ACC and the media who covered the conference during his lifetime will forever be appreciated.
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A 1985 graduate of UVA, White worked at the Richmond Times-Dispatch until July 2009. He was honored six times as the state's Sportswriter of the Year.
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