Kaley Moser: Kay Yow Is My Hero

  • Name: Kaley Moser
  • Age: 21
  • Organization: NC State, Williams High School

A special to www.DNAOfSports.com - Author: Kaley Moser, Guard - NC State Wolfpack.

(1994 Photo: Kaley Moser, age 10 and Hall of Fame Wolfpack Head Coach Kay Yow.)

Kay Yow is my hero.

Growing up as a die-hard Wolfpack fan and an aspiring youth basketball player, it made perfect sense to attend the Wolfpack Women’s Basketball Camp as a kid. Little did I know how much that camp in 2004 would change my life, all because of Coach Yow. Not only did her players prove how passionate, humble and committed Coach Yow was on the court and in life, Coach Yow also demonstrated it herself to campers of all ages. I was one of those lucky campers - and so began my dream of one day playing for the Wolfpack Women.

I can recall from camp when Coach Yow selflessly cut into her lunch time to instruct my team on the perfect box out technique. Coach Yow taught me that you can’t control every part of the game of basketball, but you can control your attitude and fundamentals like boxing out. Later on, after learning about Coach Yow’s ongoing battle with breast cancer, I realized her real message that day was:

“We have little or no control over what happens to us in life, but we have one hundred percent control over how we will respond.

Coach Yow’s quote about things being out of our control hit home harder than I ever imagined it would.

In December of 2008, my Aunt Jami passed away from breast cancer. Coach Yow’s words empowered me during this time, and in the months to come.

One month after my Aunt’s passing, Coach Yow also finished her battle with breast cancer. It was during this time, I knew I had to do something with my life in order to carry on the legacy of my Aunt Jami and Coach Yow. I knew that I didn’t have control over what had happened to my Aunt and Coach Yow, but I knew I had control over how I would respond.

During my senior year of high school, I took my love of basketball and the inspiration from Coach Yow to put together a Hoops for Hope basketball game. The Hoops for Hope game was for my senior project, but it also helped discover a passion of mine. I partnered with the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, and I tried to include every aspect of the Hoops for Hope game played annually at NC State. I sold t-shirts, held a silent auction, promoted breast cancer awareness, and I definitely made sure everyone had on pink.

The outpouring of support from my high school and my community made the Hoops for Hope game a huge success. My initial goal of raising $5,000 turned into $12,000, which I was thrilled to donate to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. I found joy in being able to carry out Coach Yow’s vision through my Hoops for Hope game.

Following my senior year of high school, I felt honored to receive an invitation to attend the 2012 NCAA Women’s Basketball Final Four games. My Hoops for Hope basketball game ended up being the top high school fundraiser in the country, and that landed me a trip to the tournament with the Kay Yow Cancer Fund staff. While I was at the tournament, I learned more about Coach Yow’s wisdom through my interactions with other college coaches. Every Coach I talked to told me Coach Yow exuded strength and truly had the heart of a Champion.

In fall of 2012, I began classes at NC State University, the college I had always dreamed about playing basketball for. Quickly, I learned about the 2012-2013 NC State Women’s Basketball Team holding tryouts for the upcoming season. Of course, I went for it, and during my tryout I did the things I could control (including boxing out)! Also during the tryout, I played my heart out in hopes to become part of the program that Coach Yow pioneered. I truly believe Coach Yow’s imprint on my life and motivation behind my work ethic helped land me a spot on the team.

After learning I would become a walk-on for the Wolfpack Women, Coach Yow’s truths sunk even deeper into my heart. Even though life threw difficulties at me through dealing with the unfortunate realities of breast cancer, Coach Yow’s advice taught me how to persevere.

Coach Yow’s quote:“When life kicks you, let it kick you forward.” helped motivate me to follow through with my childhood dream of playing basketball for NC State. To this day, I have no doubt that I am a part of the Wolfpack Women’s basketball team for a reason, and I think a big part of that reason is to help carry out Coach Yow’s legacy.

Something important for me to point out is that it would not be right to talk about Coach Yow without emphasizing how rock solid her faith was. She believed that the Lord used trials in her life in order to accomplish something greater. Coach Yow taught me to believe in the same thing for myself, and every day I try to share this perspective with my teammates.

It is my hope that everyone around me knows about the courage and dignity that Coach Yow embodied. There is no better time to do this than during the Hoops for Hope game. Every year I look forward to the game when we play for Kay, and I look forward to spreading Coach Yow’s hope filled vision.

Breast cancer never hindered Coach Yow from fulfilling her purpose. When life kicked Coach Yow, it never set her back, it always kicked her forward. Thankful is not enough to describe how fortunate I am to know Coach Yow. I am still inspired by Coach Yow daily. The way she lived her life serves as a well of strength, faith, and hope that I will draw from forever.

Today and every day I play for Coach Yow, my hero.

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