Yow signs extension

University of Maryland athletic director Debbie Yow signed a contract extension yesterday that guarantees her $350,000 per year through 2013, she confirmed.

Yow's previous contract would not have expired until August 2010, but early negotiations in the athletic department are common, she said. Financial bonuses based on academic achievement and "competitive excellence" are included in the contract, Yow said, but details were not available yesterday.


"I'm fully focused on all the goals we have in front of us," said Yow, who is in her 13th year as head of the department. "We've achieved a lot, but there is so much more ahead of us."

Among her list of goals, Yow said, are facilities improvements, graduation rates and more Atlantic Coast Conference and national championships.


Of Maryland's 40 national team championships, 14 have been won during Yow's tenure. That includes the unprecedented four national titles during 2005-06 (men's soccer, women's basketball, field hockey, competitive cheerleading). In the same academic year, Maryland achieved the highest student-athlete graduation rate in its history at 70 percent.

Yow, 57, is still looking for improvement, though. The men's basketball team was last in the ACC with a graduation success rate of 18 percent for freshmen entering school between 1996 and 1999. According to the same data, which were released in September, the football team was eighth in the ACC with a graduation success rate of 64 percent.

Facilities construction that has taken place under Yow's direction includes the building of Comcast Center, the renovation of the Gossett Football Team House and the ongoing renovation of Byrd Stadium.

One of Yow's biggest accomplishments during her tenure was balancing the budget. From 1984 to 1994, the athletic department did not balance one operational budget.

"When we walked in the door in '94, we inherited all that debt," she said. "We haven't missed on balancing a budget since '94. We're not going to miss. We can't miss."

Maryland's athletic department has avoided serious sanctions by the NCAA under Yow's watch, but in summer 2003 the football program received a one-year probation from the NCAA for recruiting violations. The primary incident involved a series of cash gifts to former Gilman defensive end Victor Abiamiri.

Maryland investigated and reported the incident to the NCAA, stopped recruiting Abiamiri and disciplined the assistant coach who gave the gifts.

Yow recently was inducted into the University of Maryland Athletics Hall of Fame, as well as the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame. She has served as president of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics, an organization representing 1,600 colleges and universities in the United States and Canada.


"Debbie has represented the University of Maryland with distinction across the nation," university president C.D. Mote Jr. said in a statement released yesterday. "She is one of a kind; we are lucky to have her here."

Still, at least two coaches under Yow's supervision make more money than she. Men's basketball coach Gary Williams is up to $1.6 million, and football coach Ralph Friedgen was last reported to be guaranteed at least $1.5 million. Women's basketball coach Brenda Frese also has surpassed the $300,000 mark.

Yow is one of only three female athletic directors leading Bowl Championship Series schools and the only one with a track record. Lisa Love is in her second year at Arizona State, and Sandy Barbour is in her second year at the University of California.

For the record

An article in yesterday's Sports section gave an incorrect student-athlete graduation rate for the University of Maryland for the 2005-2006 season. The rate was a school-best 76 percent.The Sun regrets the error.