Lee News

Kay McDaniel Tennis Clinic Concludes

Group Hug at Tennis Clinics '17

Lee’s 26th annual Kay McDaniel Summer Tennis Clinic recently concluded with nearly 400 registered participants. Children ages 6-13 came from 30 cities in Tennessee, Georgia, and Louisiana to learn from director and Lee professor McDaniel, along with 43 other instructors. This year’s theme was “What’s your story?”

“I adore these kids and look forward to seeing them year after year; it’s a tennis family,” said McDaniel. “I enjoy meeting new ones as about half of the clinics each year are first timers. My instructors are exceptional. I’m so proud of how each of them uniquely showed their love for these kids daily. The clinics are a tremendous outreach not only to our great community but the many surrounding cities that are represented each year.”

Distinctive awards were given to the most inspiring kids and instructors during a celebrated closing ceremony. The “Most Inspiring Head Instructor” award went to two instructors—brothers Ian and Reagan Wilbanks who have participated in the clinic for 16 years. Brandon Newell, standout tennis team member at Rhea County High School, received the “Most Inspiring Junior Instructor” award for his service to the clinic.

Ashlan Brown and Dravon Goode received medals from McDaniel for their “Most Improved” tennis skills. Petra Thompson and Sam Bagley each earned “Most Christ-Like” medals for their passionate sportsmanship. A TAIL tennis skirt that McDaniel wore while competing at Wimbledon was given to Savannah Inman for her “Most Promising” talent. A new tennis racquet was given to Will Dixon for his “Most Promising” tennis abilities. Three people received the “Most Devoted Attendee,” Andrew Arrington, Elijah Cook, and Michael McCollum, all of whom attended eight consecutive years at the clinics.

Kay McDaniel Shows the Serve
Kay McDaniel demonstrates the serve

McDaniel is a former world ranked professional tennis player. She captivated her audience everyday by sharing inspiring personal stories of how she overcame difficult obstacles to reach the top echelon of professional world tennis. From age 11, she dreamed of becoming a professional tennis player. Her first tennis racquet was a Green Stamp racket where she collected over 10,000 stamps to fill 10 S&H books to obtain it. Her mother sewed all her tennis clothes until age 15 when top sponsors, such as Fila, Adidas, TAIL and Nike sponsored her tennis career.

An early setback was the death of McDaniel’s tennis coach and later an injury threatened her pro career until God miraculously healed it. She later realized her dream by competing at tennis’ Grand Slams for six years against legendary players such as Billie Jean King, Martina Navratilova, Chris Evert, and Steffi Graf. She rose to the top 35 in the world in singles and held a world rank of 20 in doubles.

For more information, visit Kay McDaniel Summer Tennis Clinic.
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