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Yow sees great things in Terps' future

May 03, 2003|by MARK KELLER

keller@herald-mail.com

Don't expect University of Maryland athletic director Debbie Yow to follow the status quo when it comes to Title IX.

Yow, who was on hand at the Cumberland Valley Terrapin Club Spring Outing at Fountain Head Country Club on Wednesday, said Maryland will go the complete opposite direction many other universities are taking in complying with the federal legislation.

She said that rather than eliminating men's programs, as West Virginia and Toledo have done in recent weeks, Maryland will add women's programs before it drops any sport.

In fact, Yow said one of her goals is to turn eight men's sports - baseball, indoor and outdoor track, cross country, swimming, golf, tennis and wrestling - into fully scholarshipped programs at the school. She said none of those programs are in danger of being cut for budgetary reasons or Title IX compliance.

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"Not as long as I'm the AD," Yow said. "What happened 30 years ago when Title IX came along is they took the scholarships from those men's programs and gave them to the women's teams.

"It creates an extraordinary financial burden, but we hope to be able to get them scholarshipped very soon."

Yow is no stranger to financial burdens, inheriting an athletics program that was $51 million in debt when she arrived in 1994. Now completing her ninth year at Maryland, that deficit is down to $14 million after eight straight years of balanced budgets.

The athletic department is also helping the university on the whole during a tough economy, contributing $500,000 to the school's overall budget last year and $1.8 million each of the next two years.

"We're part of the school and we're here to help when they need it," Yow said. "It was here for us in tough times. We need to reach out and help to get through that."

Yow has overseen tremendous successes in the Maryland athletic program over the last nine years.

  • The football team, under head coach Ralph Friedgen, has a 21-5 record the last two years, won the Atlantic Coast Conference in 2001 to earn an Orange Bowl appearance and beat Tennessee in the 2002 Peach Bowl.

  • The men's basketball team has appeared in the NCAA Tournament 10 straight times and won its first national title in 2002.

  • The women's lacrosse team won seven straight national titles from 1995-2001;

  • The field hockey team played for the national title in 2001.


Yow said she measures her pride in the program by the reaction of the fans.

"The rise in satisfaction with the program is outstanding, because our fans have been through a lot of tough times," Yow said. "But the fans have stayed and the fan base has grown."

The Terrapin Club has gone from 4,200 members to 7,800 over the last several years and donations from the club to the athletic program have risen from $2 million to $8.5 million on Yow's watch.

Still, Yow is not satisfied. She has much bigger plans for the Terrapins.

"It's a change from where we've been, but there's more to do," Yow said. "We need to sell out Byrd Stadium for football like we do Comcast Center. We want the women's basketball program to come up so that the Maryland-Duke game means the same as it does in men's basketball.

"Sometimes it seems like a slow process. But it's not the pace that's the focus, it's the direction."

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