Deborah A. Yow-Bowden 2006
In the small town of Gibsonville, North Carolina, Debbie Yow-Bowden began a remarkable journey in sports that led her to become a pioneer and national leader in collegiate athletics. This journey began at Gibsonville Junior High School where she took up basketball as a player, later to become a high school teacher and coach, to collegiate coach, to athletics administrator and to being the first female Director of Athletics in the Atlantic Coast Conference. In collegiate coaching she was the first coach in the history of NCAA women’s basketball to guide three different, never-previously-ranked university programs to Associated Press Top 20 rankings — the University of Kentucky, Oral Roberts University and the University of Florida — while graduating her student athletes at a splendid rate. As an administrator Dr. Yow-Bowden has become one of America’s leaders in collegiate athletics. She is in the 16th year of her outstanding tenure as director of athletics at the University of Maryland, a tenure that has seen unprecedented success and achievement in Maryland athletics. In Yow’s 16 leadership years at Maryland, the Terrapins have won a remarkable 16 NCAA national championships and graduated student athletes at an enviable rate as Maryland athletics has soared to sustained new heights. The comprehensive success of Terrapin athletics under Debbie Yow’s leadership is a clear and compelling testimony of her values of excellence, teamwork and accountability. Likewise, her prior election to the presidency of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics is an indication of the wide respect with which she is regarded among its 6,100 members representing 1,600 colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada. She served in this leadership role with proactivity and distinction. She was honored in December, 2004, by Street and Smith’s Sports Business Journal as one of the 20 most influential people in intercollegiate athletics, and she has received the Carl Maddox Sport Management Award presented by the United States Sports Academy for excellence in athletics administration. She chaired the ACC Committee on Television during the successful renegotiation of comprehensive, multi-year ACC football and basketball contracts with ABC, ESPN, ESPN2 and syndication entities. Additionally, she has represented intercollegiate athletics with presentations in a number of prominent settings such as the Harvard University School of Law conference on “Shaping the Future of Collegiate Athletics” and the Street and Smith’s Sports Business Journal “National Forum on the Direction of Intercollegiate Athletics.” She was also recently inducted into the State of Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame. Yow, who has served on the NCAA Management Council and the NCAA Division I Budget Committee, is a strong and steady voice on behalf of intercollegiate athletics in America. Since taking over as AD at Maryland in 1994, she and her staff have: Implemented a strategic management model. Developed a comprehensive Internet strategy with management, marketing and fund-raising applications. Significantly improved customer care in every area of Maryland athletics. The most recent achievements of Maryland athletics under her leadership are exceptional: Maryland was selected by U.S. News & World Report as one of the Top 20 athletic programs in the nation (for overall quality and competitive excellence). Maryland is now one of only six universities in the nation, and the only ACC institution, to win a National Championship in both basketball and football (UCLA, Michigan, Michigan State, Syracuse, Ohio State and Maryland). Maryland was ranked as the sixth-finest athletic program in the nation by the Laboratory for the Study of Intercollegiate Athletics in 2004, based on comprehensive criteria including graduation rates, financial efficiency, equity effectiveness and competitive excellence. Yow is known for her goal-oriented and proactive management style. She consistently inspires and challenges those around her to “raise our sights and sharpen our tools… to work hard and smart… to recognize that our only limitations are those that we place upon ourselves.” She previously served in athletics administration at Saint Louis University, the University of North Carolina, Greensboro and the University of Florida. She has authored numerous articles and books on athletics management and human behavior, and is a respected leader in intercollegiate athletics in the United States. She is married to Dr. William W. Bowden.