Kudos to the coaches who made a trip to the women’s Final Four a little more rewarding.
Pink t-shirts replaced coaching attire when the Northern Arizona University women’s basketball coaches jumped into the 4Kay Run that was held during the NCAA women’s tournament at San Antonio, Texas. The run is held in remembrance of Kay Yow, the long-time North Carolina State head women’s coach who died from the disease.
Yow was a past president and founding member of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA), which sponsors the event. She passed away in January of 2009 after three bouts with the disease. In addition to her 38 years as a college coach, Yow was also the head coach for the 1988 U.S. Olympic team that won a gold medal in Seoul.
NAU head women’s basketball coach, Laurie Kelly, and her assistants, Monique LeBlanc and Chad Eickhoff, brought Kelly’s sister and niece aboard and all entered the event. Proceeds will benefit cancer research through the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund.
The Lumberjacks are coming off a difficult 5-23 season that ended with a particularly frustrating 68-64 loss to Montana State, a team which has become a nemesis on a regular basis. Montana State knocked NAU from the Big Sky Tournament last year, and beat them in the tournament quarterfinals the previous year.
Kelly just completed her seventh year directing a program that she has taken to the NCAA Tournament and has won the Big Sky Conference Tournament. The ‘Jacks have enjoyed two 20+ win seasons under Kelly.
But things just didn’t come together this year as expected.
Maybe running a 4K event across the picturesque San Antonio landscape did more than help to raise money for cancer research.
Perhaps it gave the coaches time to think about next year, and getting back to post-season play.
(Photo courtesy NAU Athletics)