Roy Dixon created the Kay Yow Monument that now stands by the grave of Kay Yow in the Gibsonville Cemetery…..Kay Yow was the highly successful and long-time women’s basketball coach at N.C. State University and she graduated from Gibsonville High School(now Eastern Guilford HS) and was/is well known throughout Guilford County and across the nation…
To see more on Mr. Dixon’s work and to check out some very nice photos that are closely related to this project, go to www.themonumentartist.com.
Our one-on-one, 10 questions segment with Mr. Roy Dixon:
Andy Durham: What inspired you to take on the project of creating the Kay Yow Monument?
Roy Dixon: When I was first approached by Ron Yow about creating Kay’s monument, I felt honored and flattered just to be considered for the project. To put it in a sports perspective, I guess I felt like an athlete might feel when being recruited by a top university… some strange combination of pride and humility. The kind of feeling that drives you to do your best and compels you to prove your worth to the rest of the team. These were just my initial feelings, however, and as I started to get a feeling for Coach Yow… her values, integrity and sense of purpose… I soon began to see the “big picture”. Of course I still felt a sense of pride at being chosen to do the work… I mean, who wouldn’t feel that way… but it should come as no surprise that my true inspiration came from the strength and courage shown by Coach Yow herself. She inspired me just as she inspired countless people throughout her life.
AD: Did you have any prior knowledge of Kay Yow or her background in basketball coaching?
RD: I had heard of Coach Yow, but I must confess that hadn’t really followed Women’s Basketball. I think as most boys grow up they tend to follow the men’s teams more…they choose their heroes and try to emulate them as they grow into manhood. In all fairness, though… I didn’t have anyone like Coach Yow to look up to as a boy. If I did, then I’m sure things would have been different.
AD: What lasting impression did you take with you as you completed this project?
RD: I felt a number of things. I felt blessed for having been chosen. I felt satisfaction, knowing that I did a good job. I felt sadness when I had to leave the most beautiful state in the country and finally had to come home. Mostly though…I felt a profound sense of loss. Through the months it took me to do the work, I felt like I got to know Coach Yow. She began to influence my thoughts and actions both in work and in everyday life. As I worked on her portrait for countless hours, looking into her eyes, I almost felt like she was standing there with me.. like a mom or a grandmother. Then we placed her stone in the cemetery and I realized I may never see the monument again. I felt like I was leaving something behind. It’s hard to describe, but I feel that a little part of me is missing now.
AD: What does a monument such as this, now sitting in the Gibsonville Cemetery, what does it stand for?
RD:I think it gives us a place to go and reflect on our own lives, as well as Kay’s. It gives us something to take care of… something to touch. To some it gives a chance to say hello, to others a chance to say goodbye… but most of all it gives us something of Coach Yow to hold on to.
AD: In your opinion, how will this impact those that see it and what message do you want to convey?
RD: I would like to think that Kay’s monument will inspire people. In my mind I see some 17 year old girl in an NC State jersey standing there, reading Coach Yow’s words, wanting to be a better person and looking for insight… knowing that there are no limits to what she can accomplish.
AD: Can someone that has passed on, still speak to those that are still living?
RD: Of course they can! The fact of the matter is, the most inspirational people of all time have passed away into our history. Does DaVinci inspire us? Mozart? How about Thomas Jefferson or Benjamin Franklin? Inspiration comes from those who have found a way to live on in our hearts. Anyone who has read the Bible knows this to be true.
AD: How long did it take to complete this monument?
RD: It took about 6 months to do the artwork once the stone was quarried and shaped. Her face alone took hundreds of hours to complete.
AD: As you left the cemetery, did you have a feeling of satisfaction, a sense of completion, now that the project is finished?
RD: Yes, I felt all of those things and more. It was a little sad also. Let me put it this way… If the day ever comes that I decide to leave Iowa, it will be because I’m moving to North Carolina.
AD: Do you think this gives those that have known Kay Yow something to hang on to?
RD: Absolutely. I also think it gives closure as well as hope. I wanted to create something that lets you hold on to Kay’s spirit. Maybe the monument can help us all to get past our grief so we can live our own lives, knowing that we can go and see her whenever we feel the need.
AD: What in closing, do you want to say to her family, or does the monument say it all?
RD: First off, I would like to say Thank You… not just for allowing me the opportunity to create Coach Yow’s memorial stone, but because of it, I had a chance to learn about an extraordinary human being. I got a chance to meet some outstanding people and visit the great state of North Carolina.
I believe the monument says a lot, but there is one very important thing that I
could not put on her memorial stone, and it is this …. Kay Yow has made me a
This poem written by Kay Yow is insribed on one side of the headstone monument that rests in the Gibsonville Cemetery:
MY THOUGHTS ON SPORT
There’s just something about sport
That reaches the depths of my soul,
That lets me know I am not in total control,
And causes me to put my trust in my Lord.
Sport stretches me to my limits.
I give and take until sometimes I want to quit,
But time goes on and, due to the pull,
I’m sure that life has been made more full.
To win is the name of every game,
But winning encompasses more than the score on the board.
Commitment, dedication, and sacrifices must be employed
By every participant – in every game, it is the same.
Winning is relevant and can be quite illusive,
Hard to grasp and hard to understand;
But success is striving to do all you can
And putting the rest in the Lord’s hands!
Our fate in games is always just,
Whether it be to win or lose;
It’s not up to us to choose,
But in God’s plan to trust.
The greatest of all victors had a plan,
To glorify God – that was His goal;
Such determination and desire were within His soul
That there can be no greater efforts from any other man!
There’s just something about sport
That touches every part of me.
More like Jesus, let it make me,
Let it make me more like Thee!
Appreciation pours in from the “Yow” family to the following people, for their generous assistance, with Kay’s Monument.
Robert Wade, “Structural Systems Inc.”
Kirby Ward, “Guaranteed Supply Co.”
Tom Martin, “Cemex Corporation”
Doug Mills, “Cape Fear Construction Co.”
Nick Carter “Cape Fear Construction Co.”
Bob Duff, “Cape Fear Construction Co.”
Roger Cox “Cape Fear ConstructionCo.”
Eugene Peterson, “Askew-Peterson Monuments”
Jim Clark, “UNCG Dept. of English”
Terry Kennedy, “UNCG Dept. of English”
Neil Whitaker, “Sechrest Funeral Services” and Family Member
Delano Flynn, Engineer and Family Member