Kay McDaniel


Kay McDaniel

Class of 2005

Southern Tennessee Hall of Fame, 2007

Mississippi Tennis Hall of Fame, 2016

Kay McDaniel acquired her first tennis racquet at age 11 by saving over 10,000 green stamps.  Beginning lessons with a tennis pro two years later, McDaniel became a top junior player earning a #1 ranking in the USTA Southern 14, 16, and 18 divisions.  During her college career at Louisiana State University, she played as the #1 ranked singles player and earned All-American honors for three years.  On the professional circuit McDaniel went on to compete in six Wimbledon Championships, six U. S. Opens, and three French Opens achieving a world ranking of #30 in singles and #20 in doubles.  She also won a Virginia Slims singles title, 2 doubles titles, and an award for the “Fastest Serve in Women’s Tennis” clocking in at 105 mph.  After retiring from professional tennis, McDaniel launched a successful career as a health science professor and tennis coach joining Lee University in Cleveland, Tennessee. McDaniel has been named the Tennessee-Virginia Athletic Conference Coach of the Year.  In 1992, she partnered with Lee University to establish the Kay McDaniel Tennis Clinic teaching the game to area youth.  McDaniel oversees the highly anticipated summer camp program where she inspires young people to dream big and work hard to overcome life’s obstacles.  She has been honored by the Louisiana governor and Council on Physical Fitness and Sport with an Outstanding Achievement Award, nominated to “Who’s Who Among America’s Teachers” and to the “Honor an Educator” award from the International Honor Society for Educators. McDaniel is beloved by the university students and the Cleveland community at large who established the annual “Kay McDaniel Walk for Lupus” event as fundraiser in her honor.