Yow Honored By National Football Foundation

Brett Friedlander

Newly minted Hall of Famer Torry Holt wasn't the only native of Gibsonville with NC State ties to be honored at the National Football Foundation's annual awards banquet in New York on Tuesday.

Newly retired Wolfpack athletic director Debbie Yow was presented with the NFF's John L, Toner Award recognizing execellence in athletic administration.

Yow's selection made history, as she becomes the first female recipient of the prestigious award, presented annually by the NFF to athletic directors who have demonstrated superior administrative abilities and shown outstanding dedication to college athletics, particularly college football.

The award is named in honor of its inaugural recipient John L. Toner, former athletic director and football coach at Connecticut and NCAA President.

Debbie Yow

The Toner Award is the latest in a number of recent honors for Yow, a member of the NFF Board of Directors since 2008 who stepped down in May after nine years of leading State's athletic department. She was also named the 2018-19 Under Armour AD of the Year and the 2019 winner of the James J. Corbett Memorial Award, along with induction into the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics Hall of Fame.

Yow was ACC's first female athletic director when she was hired by Maryland in 1994 before moving on to State to build on the legacy left by her late sister -- and fellow North Carolina Athletic Hall of Famer -- Kay.

After inheriting an athletic department that had just one team finish ranked in the Top 25 in its respective sport the year prior to her arrival, a combined 40 teams finished ranked in the last four years, including 12 in 2017-18.

In addition to that success on the playing field, the Wolfpack also enjoyed an era of tremendous growth in other areas during her watch -- with accomplishments that included the establishment of a school athletic hall of fame, the opening of the $14 million Close-King Indoor Practce Facility and the extensive renovations to venerable Reynolds Coliseum.