The award, which is named in honor of the late North Carolina State head coach, is designed to recognize the NCAA Division I head coach who embodies not only a winning spirit but also displays great character both on and off the court.
Connie Yori, who has already been honored this season as the WBCA, Associated Press and U.S. Basketball Writers Association national coach of the year, was also the WBCA Region 5 Coach of the Year and the Big 12 Conference Coach of the Year.
"It is truly a great honor to be named the first recipient of the Kay Yow Award," Yori said. "In a lot of ways, this award might be more significant than some of the other coach-of-the-year awards because the Yow Award takes into account more than winning. It also recognizes a coach who is trying to instill the values of character and leadership in student-athletes both on and off the court. I know it is important to win games, but I also know the biggest responsibility I have as a coach is to prepare young women to be productive members of society after their basketball careers have ended."
ori led Nebraska to its best season in school history in 2009-10, as the Huskers advanced to their first-ever NCAA Sweet 16. NU finished with a 32-2 record, posting nine more wins than any other team in Husker history. The Huskers produced a remarkable 17-game improvement in the win column over last season, while capturing their first Big 12 Conference regular-season title. Nebraska tied the Big 12 record with a 30-game winning streak and became the first men's or women's team in Big 12 history to notch a perfect regular season (29-0).
Nebraska also achieved the first top 10 national ranking in school history, climbing all the way to No. 3 in the polls before claiming the school's first No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament. The Huskers have made a school-record seven consecutive postseason tournament appearances under Yori, including NCAA trips in 2007, 2008 and 2010.
Along the way, Nebraska was also recognized as one of just 19 teams in the 64-team NCAA Tournament field with a perfect graduation success rate. In Coach Yori's 20-year career as a head coach, each one of her student-athletes has earned a bachelor's degree. Nebraska also led the Big 12 with six first-team academic all-conference honorees this season.
In addition, all five of Nebraska's starters were honored by the Big 12 for their performances on the court this season, including 2010 Big 12 Player of the Year Kelsey Griffin. The 6-2 senior forward from Eagle River, Alaska was a unanimous first-team All-American and a finalist for every major national player-of-the-year award. Griffin also became Nebraska's first recipient of the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award, recognizing student-athlete achievement on the court, in the classroom and in the community.
The Kay Yow Award selection committee includes a prestigious mix of current and former collegiate coaches, distinguished college basketball administrators and experienced basketball analysts. Yow was a coaching legend who led NC State to 737 wins during her 34 seasons at the school. She also led U.S. teams at the 1988 Olympics, 1986 World Championships, 1986 Goodwill Games and the 1981 World University Games.