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Kay McDaniel

tennis player
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Bio Kay McDaniel has had a passion for the game of tennis since she first picked up a racquet at 11 years of age. Kay purchased her first tennis racquet by saving green stamps for six months until she had 50 stamp books, which she then traded for a racquet at a local sporting goods store in Shreveport, LA. McDaniel spent countless hours hitting on a brick wall of a library that was located a few blocks from her house before seeking out tennis lessons. Determined to learn the game, Kay approached a local tennis pro but was told to come back in two years when she grew a bit taller. Not deterred, Kay headed back to the trusty wall and two years to the day went back to the tennis pro primed to begin her lessons.
Passion, determination, and hard work proved to be enough to carry McDaniel through a successful junior career in which she secured number one rankings in the USTA Southern 14, 16, and 18 divisions.
McDaniel was a three-time All-American tennis player at Louisiana State University in the late 1970s. McDaniel, who played for LSU from 1975-79, racked up 92 wins in a Tigers' uniform, a number that places her 12th on the list of all-time winningest players in LSU women's tennis history. She is also third on the list of match wins in a single season with 43 in 1977-78. McDaniel became the first LSU women's tennis All-America selection along with Ebie Taylor in 1978, a year that saw the Lady Tigers go 19-5 and earn the title of Louisiana AIAW Champion.

McDaniel toured the professional courts from 1980-86. In that span she competed in Wimbledon and the U.S. Open six times, the French Open three times and also once in the Tournament of Champions. She won a professional singles title in Atlanta, Ga., in 1985, a doubles title in Las Vegas, Nev., in 1984, and was once ranked at No. 30 in the world in singles play in 1983 and at No. 20 in doubles play in 1986. Also in 1986, she received the Concord British Airways Award for the "Fastest Serve in Women's Tennis." In her career, she has competed against legendary players such as Billie Jean King, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova and Steffi Graf.

McDaniel had her best run in a grand slam tournament at the 1979 Wimbledon Championships, with wins over Katja Ebbinghaus and Marie Pinterova, before losing in the third round to 15th seed Betty Stove in three sets.
McDaniel reached career high rankings of #30 in singles and #20 in doubles.

In 1980 she achieved a rare feat when she won an Avon Futures title in Atlanta as a lucky loser.

McDaniel currently serves as an Assistant Professor of Health and Exercise Science at Lee University in Cleveland, Tenn. She also writes a weekly column for the Chattanooga Times-Free Press on topics ranging from tennis to religion.
She runs a free annual summer camp for kids on the university grounds.

She authored a book titled "Serving the Master," which credits God for giving her the strength that has helped her to live with two incurable diseases, Systematic Lupus and Addison's disease. She is very involved in her community and travels often to give Christian and motivational speeches to audiences across the country.

Kay McDaniel was inducted into the United States Tennis Association Tennessee (2005) and into the USTA Southern Tennis (2007) Hall of Fame.
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