Saturday, January 24, 2009

Coach Yow's Legacy and Light

When I checked Saturday morning alongside the story about Coach Kay Yow's death was an advertisement for her Hoops for Hope game on February 15th. At first it seemed inappropriate…wish someone would pull the ad…but no…Coach’s courageous battle with cancer and that basketball game stand together.

That was reinforced a couple of hours later when the mail arrived. There was a flyer for the game in our Time Warner bill. Hoops for Hope was everywhere I turned, and I’m confident Coach Yow wants it that way.

Brian Asbill, General Manager of Wolfpack Sports Marketing, remembers the inaugural Hoops for Hope:

When we first proposed the idea for the game, we didn't know if Coach Yow would want to put herself out there as the face of this disease when she had so many battles to fight on her own. Most people want to quietly fight these battles far from the limelight but Coach Yow never hesitated. I'll always remember Coach Yow telling me that she had been searching for some way to "give back" and she felt this game would be a way she could give hope to others who were fighting their own battles. She felt the name of the event said it all..."Hoops for Hope." Its purpose was to share hope for a better tomorrow, for more research, more education and hope for a cure.

So many things eventually developed from those early days of "Hoops for Hope". Kay's former players embraced it and took it to another level by suggesting to the WBCA that this should be a nationwide cause supported by schools all across the USA. That led to ESPN's involvement and more than 900 schools conducting events at games to raise funds for breast cancer programs. From that nationwide initiative came the Kay Yow WBCA Cancer Fund, which will ultimately be Coach Yow's lasting legacy.

Some times we can easily forget that just one simple action can make such a difference. Fortunately for us and many others, Kay Yow knew that all along....  

Indeed, Coach Yow is a legendary basketball coach, but her charisma was a captivating combination of her gifts and values. She was a competitor and motivator. A caring, loyal person. A truly gracious human being. A woman of great faith. A hoops luminary whose legacy even eclipses the game she so loved. And everyone loves Coach Yow!

More on Coach Yow at

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Go for the Gold!

Olympic contenders have much to teach us about navigating the recession. 
It’s an ATTITUDE + INTELLECT = SUCCESS sort of equation.

Our company recently held its annual sales awards luncheon that featured a panel of local Olympians. We were inspired by:

Jim Murray
Luge - '68 @ Grenoble, '72 @ Sapporo, '76 @ Innsbruck
Chairs NC Society of Olympians
Pinehurst realtor

Nadine Faustin-Parker
Hurdles (competing for Haiti) '00 @ Sydney, '04 @ Athens, '08 @ Beijing
UNC's director of track and field operations/admin

Karen Shelton
Field Hockey - '84 @ LA
UNC's head women’s field hockey coach

                                               (from left: Murray, Faustin-Parker, Shelton)

Karen says successful people have a passion for what they do.

Quoting Confucius: “Choose a job you love and you will never work a day in your life.”

“Train your attitude…view challenges as opportunities...push yourself…Bring it on!”

Nadine suffered a stress fracture training for the Beijing games.

“I had to sit out and not train…watch my competitors get better…but I kept pushing and fighting…whatever I could do to stay in shape.”

“Be in the moment…don’t let other people discourage you…never give up.”

Still, it takes more than emotion and force of will. You must be resourceful:

Jim says you have to find a way around your challenges. Look for a new approach.

Regarding the economy: “There’s a big barrier out there, but everybody else has that problem, too. Find a different way to do things. Don’t think this is the way we’ve always done it."

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Thanks to my co-worker Andrea Osborne for sharing the photo and her notes.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Durham Renaissance

Downtown Durham’s revival is a thing to behold.

When I began working at the Durham Bulls Athletic Park nine years ago it was a lonely place in the off-season. Our neighbors were the abandoned, seedy Lucky Strike factory and the City’s bus depot, an urban eyesore. Thousands of pigeons resided in the abandoned mill, and they routinely "bombed" the ballpark (if you get my drift.) Homeless folks would knock on my Blackwell St. window soliciting support, and I usually drove a couple of miles to Subway for lunch.

What a transformation in under a decade! The old tobacco factory is now the American Tobacco Historic District, a campus of about fifty companies with three thousand employees, five restaurants and loft apartments. The bus lot is the brand spankin’ new Durham Performing Arts Center.

The City of Durham placed a controversial bet in the early 1990’s when it decided to build our $16 million ballpark. (The DBAP opened in 1995.) Over time, however, the Bulls’ success emboldened City leaders to make an even greater public investment in downtown that helped to engender this remarkable revival.

Downtown Durham Inc. keeps a running total on the public investment that’s currently pegged at $315 million, and those taxpayer dollars have been leveraged to produce $820 million in private investment - over a billion dollars!

The new
Durham Performing
Arts Center...or DPAC

DDI has gathered some data on the center city from 1992-93 (when the ballpark was being hotly debated) and compared it to 2008:
  • Tax base: $124 million to $500 million
  • Employment: 3,800 to 14,500
  • Commercial space: 1 million sq feet to 2.8 million
  • Visitors: 1 million to 1.7 million
  • Residential units: 100 to 900
  • City dwellers: 160 to 1400
And there are accolades to go with the DDI stats:

Durham’s Downtown named one of the Top 15 Up and Coming Neighborhoods by Business Week

#1 Foodiest Small Town in America by Bon Appetit

#1 Best Place to Retire by Black Enterprise

#3 Best Green City by Lifestyle

...and finally, another Business Week recognition that I’m really counting on:

#3 Best City to Ride Out a Recession

You are cordially invited to visit us at the American Tobacco Historic District and Downtown Durham!

The courtyard
at the American Tobacco Campus
& the Old Bull River...or ATC