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May 18, 2011

Q&A with Debbie Yow, part II

In the first week of July, Debbie Yow began work as the new athletics director at NC State. Over 10 months later she approaches the end of her first sports calendar year in Raleigh, and Yow sat down with The Wolfpacker this week for almost 25 minutes to discuss the "State of the Pack" for a feature that will appear in the upcoming football preview magazine.

Here is part II of Yow's interview with The Wolfpacker.

You made a couple of hires so far, starting with new men's soccer coach Kelly Findley. What's been your impression of him so far?

"Kelly Findley is as we had hoped he would be. He's a winner. There's a reason why he was ranked as high as No. 5 nationally in men's soccer at Butler with very few resources available to him. His entire staff chose to come with him to NC State. One of them was actually offered the head job at Butler and chose instead to come with him to State, so I like that.

"He's recruiting. I believed he signed two players in Germany, and he had already lived in North Carolina and was very up-to-date and in-tuned with the Olympic development program in the state of North Carolina. He's a perfect fit for us. He, his wife and their five children have moved to between I think Cary and Apex and they are going to be here a long time and I am looking forward to the first time we get to the College Cup."

Was the hire of the new strength and conditioning coordinator for athletics Bob Alejo something that was Mark Gottfried's doing or something you were looking to do?

"As part of our restructuring, which we are not finished with yet, again that will probably be rolled out as well in July, we knew we needed a leader for strength and conditioning. Bob Alejo was also a favorite of Coach Gottfried. As it turned out, [Alejo] had the skill set to be both the leader of all of our strength and conditioning coaches and their units as well as being the strength and conditioning person assigned to men's basketball.

"He's very much into, and has been for years, and written articles on the value of nutrition in combination with a strength and conditioning program. I've met with him and very impressed with him. I think we're headed in the right direction."

With regards to the swimming vacancy is their a timeline that you want to work with?

"I don't think there is a specific timeline. Chris Kingston is also carrying that search because that's his sport that reports to him as senior associate AD. It's been gratifying to see the quality of candidates.

"I believe we had a bit hesitation or wonder because we don't have a great pool how many quality coaches would apply, but there is not going to be an issue here in terms of our opportunity to select a terrific coach. It's just going to come down to who that should be.

"We're already committed to a half-million dollar improvement to the face of the swimming pool for office areas and for a version of a walk of fame and history just for swimming so that they have a place to display all of their trophies over so many years. It's going to be good when it happens."

There seem to be a lot of little things going around here with facilities. At Carter-Finley it's a new scoreboard.

"Two-million scoreboard at Carter-Finley, massive scoreboard, high-def. The whole surface of the structure can be used for replay, and when you're not doing replay you'll see that change digitally into our sponsors. So when we want to see replays the entire surface will be used.

"We're also hoping to make some improvements to the East side of the stadium around the restroom area. They have the tennis renovations underway, building six new outdoor courts with a grandstand for men's and women's tennis.

"We also have the work going on at the soccer stadium where we are building a press box, molded seats, and two team buildings for both the home team and the visiting team to use."

What about the new golf clubhouse?

"The golf clubhouse is going to be amazing. We asked the campus in September to consider moving us into the golf clubhouse. They had another plan with a separate building, but I really, after seeing drawings of the clubhouse, knew that it would be a magnificent recruiting advantage for us to be in that facility.

"Subsequent to that they did agree to move us into that facility for both the men and the women. We are just going to have a pretty special set-up. It's going to be incredible for recruiting."

A fan favorite is the indoor football practice facility. Is that on the table or a possibility?

"I can't say that considering seriously right now an indoor practice facility is occurring. I want that for us. I think it would be beneficial for football as well as a number of other sports, but it will also carry a very large price tag, and to be candid with you, I need to be here long enough to feel secure in our ability to continue to make payment on existing facilities, and to be sure we can get our cash flow in a position where we can both hire the best coaches in the country and retain the best coaches in the country. We are not there.

"I could not siphon off money that we need to retain good staff to build yet another facility. We have to be careful. I know it's there. I know it's something we really need. A number of our other projects that I just mentioned are student-fee driven. The athletic program has not had to pay for those. If we had an indoor facility we will be expected to pay for that ourselves."

In part III - Yow shares some thoughts on the revenue sports of basketball and football.


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