Kay McDaniel praying with campers after sharing one of her many stories
Celebrating its 30th anniversary, the Kay McDaniel annual tennis clinics will take place June 6-10 on Lee University’s campus.
“I can’t believe we hit such a landmark year – 30 years!” said Ms. McDaniel. “My first clinic, 25 kids signed up. The second year, 50 attended. The rest is history. It’s been such an honor to teach so many kids the game of tennis and share the love of God with them. Not only do they learn to play a life-long sport, but they learn that God’s eternal love lasts longer than a lifetime.”
The girls’ session will take place from 8-10 a.m., and the boys’ session will follow from 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. These free clinics welcome children ages 6-13, and all skill levels are accepted. Beginners are especially encouraged to attend.
“Over the years, many kids elected to become junior instructors when they aged out of the clinics at age 13,” said Ms. McDaniel. “It’s one of my greatest joys to see them teach others and watch them grow as young Christ followers. Some instructors have been with me five, 10, and 20 years. We are a tight bunch as we are ‘tennis family strong.’”
During the clinics, Ms. McDaniel shares her inspiring stories of how she overcame difficult obstacles in sports and in life to reach her lofty goals.
From age 11, she dreamed of becoming a professional tennis player. Her first tennis racquet was a Green Stamp racket, which Ms. McDaniel collected 5,000 stamps to obtain. Her mother sewed all her tennis clothes until age 15, when her achievements earned her tennis’ top sponsorships (Fila, Tail, and Nike) that lasted throughout her career.
Ms. McDaniel was ranked #1 in the nation as an amateur and played #1 position for Louisiana State University. She then went on to realize her ultimate dream of 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 Top 20 world ranking in doubles.
Prizes such as tennis grips, string dampeners, sweatbands, water bottles, posters, magazines, T-shirts, and other items are given away during the week of clinics. On the last day, a big awards event will take place where Ms. McDaniel will present four special prizes for the boys’ and girls’ sessions. The winners walk on a red carpet laid out on the courts to receive the prizes. Parents are encouraged to attend all week.
Starting April 1, parents can register their children for the 2022 tennis clinics. The first 500 entrants are accepted and already 400 spots have been secured. The remaining spots will fill quickly as participants from all over the state come to learn from Ms. McDaniel. Last year, over 25 cities were represented at the clinics.
For 26 years, Ms. McDaniel was a professor at Lee in the Helen DeVos College of Education’s Department of Health, Exercise Science, and Secondary Education. Over the last five years, she has advised Lee students by helping them find their strengths, matching them with their career paths, and coaching students on how to successfully overcome obstacles.
For more information about the clinics or to register, visit http://kaymcdanieltennisclinics.com/.