Lee News

Kay McDaniel Tennis Clinics, Another Great Year

The 24th annual Kay McDaniel Summer Tennis Clinic was another smashing hit. The popular tennis event had over 400 registered participants this year – the most in the history of the event.

The week was filled with free tennis lessons, prizes, certificates, group photos, and special medals. Kids ages 6-13 came from 25 cities in Tennessee and Georgia to learn from director Kay McDaniel and her staff of 45 instructors. McDaniel is a former world-ranked professional tennis player.

McDaniel captivated her audience every day 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 that McDaniel collected over 10,000 stamps to obtain. 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 her tennis coach, and later an injury threatened her pro career until God miraculously healed the injury.

McDaniel went on to realize 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 #20 world ranking in doubles.

This year’s clinic verse was Exodus 6:7: “I’ll take you as my own people and be God to you,” with a theme of “Enter the faith zone, not the safe zone.”

Tennis Instructors
Top instructors for 2015 Tennis Clinics

“The kids were so excited all week, and it was a delight to teach them not only the game of tennis but the love God has for them,” said McDaniel. “My instructors were phenomenal. I had about seven instructors per court and they kept the kids moving and learning. Their hard work, passion for my clinics, and love for these kids deeply touch my heart.”

One of the awards given at the closing ceremony went to Zach Bivens, a recent health and wellness graduate from Lee University who won the “Most Inspiring Head Instructor” award for his exceptional work with the kids. Amanda Evans received the “Most Inspiring Junior Instructor” award for her service to the clinics.

Tennis Winner
Samuel Sukhrobov receives “Most Improved” award from McDaniel

Sophia McCready and Samuel Sukhrobov received medals from McDaniel for their “Most Improved” tennis skills. Kollin Kennedy and Lola Albarakat each earned the “Most Christ-Like” medals. A special TAIL tennis skirt that McDaniel wore while competing at Wimbledon was given to Sunshine Finnell for her “Most Promising” talent. A new tennis racquet was given to Parker Davidson for his “Most Promising” tennis abilities.

The “Most Devoted Attendee” award went to Jeremiah Burkey who has attended McDaniel’s clinics for eight consecutive years - the most years possible.

After the award ceremony, a parent commented “My son has gained so much confidence, independence, respect for elders, and learned team work as well as tennis skills at Ms. Kay’s camp!”

Another couple said of the clinics, “This camp is by far the most positive experience for children to be involved in. It’s such a blessing for our children and the community.”

In order to participate in the free 2016 Kay McDaniel Tennis Clinics held June 6-10, please register online at www.kaymcdanieltennisclinics.com by June 27. A second opportunity to register will begin April 1, 2016, but space is limited. All skill levels are welcomed, boys and girls, ages 6-13.

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