RALEIGH — Debbie Yow stood on the podium in front of N.C. State's athletes and tilted her head toward the ceiling.
She had said she'd been a fool for lesser things. Then she had explained that she's a wolf, and she can howl.
"Ow, Ow, Ow, Owooooo!" she crooned.
Gathered in the RBC Center for their first meeting with Yow, N.C. State's new athletic director, the Wolfpack athletes cheered. Yow brought them together Wednesday on the first day of classes for dinner, some N.C. State-churned ice cream and a 30-minute presentation explaining her goals for the athletic program.
She provided them with T-shirts bearing the "Wolfpack Unlimited" slogan she coined after being hired in June to replace Lee Fowler. Yow vowed to continue the building of facilities that Fowler started and said the school would never have anyone who is more proud to be their athletic director.
Then she challenged them.
"I want you to set the ACC on fire, academically and athletically," she said. "Why not?"
After the presentation was over, Yow said she has hired a new senior associate athletic director, Chris Kingston, who had been serving as special assistant to the athletic director and director of annual giving at Army.
Kingston is a former member of the 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg and has served as an Army intelligence officer and tank platoon leader.
"He's our kind of person," Yow said. "He's experienced, and he wants to achieve."
Yow said she might also advertise for another senior staff position as part of the reorganization of the athletic department she is conducting.
The guest speaker at Wednesday night's dinner, former N.C. State and NFL football standout Dewayne Washington, echoed Yow's message.
"We all have to reach beyond the boundaries we have placed on ourselves," said Washington, a member of the school's Board of Visitors. "If we do that, there is no limit on what we can attain. ... Now is the time to be great. Period. Now is the time. Let's start tomorrow."
Afterward, N.C. State basketball player Scott Wood said he was impressed with Yow's howl. He guessed - correctly - that she had been practicing.
He also got her message.
"You can strive to do anything," Wood said. "You can limit yourself, and that's the only person that can limit you. So I think that's what she was trying to say, and that's a really good point."
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