Maryland athletics director Debbie Yow is expected to be named the new athletics director at NC State this afternoon. If that happens, be ready for a lot of change, which will likely yield positive results, in the Wolfpack athletics department.
Yow is regarded as one of the top athletic directors in the country. She has been tabbed by Street and Smith's Sports Business Journal as one of the 20 most influential people in intercollegiate athletics, and was honored in The Chronicle of Higher Education in October 2007 as one of the "Ten Most Powerful People in College Athletics/The Builder."
Her success at Maryland is well-documented. Maryland is one of only three schools to win National Championships in men's basketball, women's basketball and football. Stanford and UCLA are the other NCAA Division I programs to accomplish the feat. In 2009, the NCAA News named Maryland as one of the Top 10 athletics programs nationally.
The non-revenue sports have also flourished. Maryland has recently won national titles in field hockey, men's soccer, and women's lacrosse. Since Yow took over in 1994, Maryland has won an astounding 20 national titles in six different sports, with 11 coming in the last five years.
Even with the success on the field, Yow's biggest impact could be felt financially. She has balanced the budgets at Maryland (none of the budgets were balanced in the 10 years prior to her arrival). The budget is now nearly $60 million annually and the $51 million debt which her staff inherited has been reduced to under $8 million.
Dr. Yow has significantly expanded marketing and fundraising for Maryland. Private donations to athletics have increased over 350 percent and corporate sponsorship revenues have increased by over 300 percent during her time at the scohol.
She's proven that she can hire, and retain, successful coaches. Yow, who was AD at Saint Louis before being hired at Maryland, is the only known current athletic director who has hired both the National Coach of the Year in football (while at Maryland) and the National Coach of the Year in men's basketball (while at Saint Louis).
She also went out and hired women's basketball coach Brenda Frese in 2002. Frese, who at the time was the reigning national coach of the year, led Maryland from a 10-18 record to a National Championship in just four seasons.
Yow has had public disagreements with some of her coaches, particularly men's hoops coach Gary Williams, and the publicity has led to negative criticism from fans.
However, she is well-respected by her peers, as Dr. Yow was elected to the presidency of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics, and currently serves as the President of the National Division 1-A Athletic Directors Association.
"I would pay to see her go through that Department," an anonymous athletics director informed Pack Pride when told that Yow would likely be taking over at NC State. "She is a hurricane of efficiency and mostly unfairly characterized as hard to deal with.
"I have always found her professional, straightforward, and someone who makes things happen in a positive manner. I have known Debbie for more than 20 years and think she is fair, but firm."
Another athletic director echoed those same thoughts.
"The current staff better be prepared as the 'movement' at Maryland for years has been a thing of Legend," he stated. "Debbie has done some very positive things at Maryland, and she is tough as nails."
NC State hasn't won a single conference championship in football, men's basketball, women's basketball, or baseball since prior to the 1992-1993 season. Just since 2000, Maryland has won ACC titles in football, men's basketball, and women's basketball and has won national titles in both hoops sports.
Wolfpack fans would be thrilled if Dr. Yow can duplicate the success she has had at Maryland once she arrives in Raleigh. Either way, they can be ready for turnover within the athletics department, which a lot of supporters have been calling for, and a heightened level of expectations.
"Changes are coming in Raleigh... major changes," said one source familiar with Dr. Yow. "Some folks aren't going to like it, but those changes will pay off in the long run."