CARY, N.C. -- A North Carolina man who's trying to keep his family's farm afloat during the tough economy said Wednesday he's getting help from late women's college basketball coach Kay Yow.
Michael Phillips of Phillips Farms in Cary said he and several family members spent the summer months building an eight-acre corn maze that looks like Yow from an aerial shot. Yow was the North Carolina State University women's basketball coach until she died in January after a long fight against breast cancer.
Phillips said since the Sept. 4 opening, up to 2,000 people have traveled through Yow's ear, navigated through her hair and necklace, and exited her right shoulder. The entire maze, which includes a breast cancer symbol, takes about half an hour to complete.
Phillips, a 21-year-old former business major from Campbell University, said he wanted to find a way to give back to Yow and help his family's farm.
"I thought of her struggles. And really, in her struggles, she was able to look into the good of her situation and build on it."
Phillips said $1 of every admission is going to the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund. Adult tickets are $10 and tickets for children and seniors over 55 are $6.
"Between all the staycations, you can spend a whole afternoon here and spend less than $50, and have dinner," Phillips said. "You really can't find that anywhere else, and you're participating in a great cause."
Phillips said his family, which has run the farm for four generations, has been losing business due to another corn maze farm nearby. He said he wanted to branch out.
"I really wanted to try something that's unique and popular with everyone," he said. "This is really what I came up with."
Phillips said his family was initially skeptical of the almost $10,000 investment. But some financial backing and planning made the project possible. Life insurance company Modern Woodmen Fraternal Financial helped back the project. The Maize, a Utah-based company that specializes in corn maze design, created a computer mock-up.
"They were kinda uneasy about it," Phillips said of his family. "But then I did some research on it. Now they're just hoping and praying that I just keeping doing like I am doing."
Phillips said Yow's maze is scheduled to close Nov. 1, but he's hoping the weather will permit him to extend it.
Yow, who lived in Cary, led N.C. State's women's basketball team to more than 700 wins during a career that spanned more than three decades. She also led the 1988 U.S. Olympic women's team to a gold medal.