Kay McDaniel here congratulating an award winner during Summer Tennis Clinics
Lee University will host its 31st annual Kay McDaniel Summer Tennis Clinic at Lee’s tennis courts June 5-9. Participants will have the rare opportunity to learn from former world-ranked professional tennis player and clinic director, Ms. McDaniel, along with over 40 staff instructors.
Registration is open now for the 2023 tennis clinics. The first 400 entrants are accepted; however, over 350 spots have already been filled. The remaining spots will fill quickly as participants from all over the state and surrounding areas come to learn from Ms. McDaniel. Last year, 30 cities were represented at the clinic.
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. This free clinic welcomes children ages 6-13, and all skill levels are accepted. Beginners are encouraged to attend.
“It’s bittersweet to realize that after 30 years, this will be my last summer tennis clinic,” said Ms. McDaniel. “I already have 45 instructors signed up to volunteer to help me teach it. They are my heroes. We are not just a tennis camp but an intimate, family-strong community. I have known most of my instructors for an average of 10 years, starting as participants themselves. We are connected by a fierce passion to present the love of God through tennis. We love the kids who attend and each other. Every year, about half of the attendees will be first timers to my clinics. Not only do these participants learn to play a sport that can last a lifetime, but they learn that God’s eternal love lasts longer than a lifetime.”
During the clinics, Ms. McDaniel shares her inspiring stories of how she overcame difficult obstacles in sports and in life. She will have her new book, “Be a Dream Chaser,” at the tennis clinics, too. “It is a whimsical, colorful hardback book that contains some of my most popular stories,” said Ms. McDaniel. “The book sold out quickly last year, and I just finished writing the 2nd edition.”
From age 11, Ms. McDaniel dreamed of becoming a professional tennis player. Her first tennis racquet was a Green Stamp racket, which she 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 before going 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. McDaniel 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, an award ceremony will take place where four special prizes are allotted for the boys’ and girls’ sessions. Parents are encouraged to attend all week.
For 26 years, Ms. McDaniel has been a professor at Lee in the health, exercise science and secondary education department. For the last five years, she advised Lee students by helping them find their strengths and giftedness and matched them with their majors and potential career paths. She also coached students on how to successfully overcome obstacles. She retired from Lee University earlier this year.
For more information or to register for this year’s clinic, visit http://kaymcdanieltennisclinics.com/.
Kay McDaniel giving a camper a hug of encouragement