Walker Named ITA/Arthur Ashe, Jr. Award Recipient for Region III
May 17, 2004
MEMPHIS, Tenn. - Senior Lee Taylor Walker received the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's Arthur Ashe Jr. Award for Sportsmanship and Leadership it was announced by the ITA, Monday. Walker, who was also a First Team All-Conference USA honoree, was one of three C-USA men's tennis players to earn a regional award. Tulane's Michael Kogan was named the Region III Senior Player of the Year, while TCU's Alex Menichini was the regional honoree for the John Van Nostrand Memorial Award. All regional award winners will now be considered for the national honor, which will be announced May 26th.
Walker wrapped his three-year Tiger career with a pair of All-Conference USA honors, including a first team honor in 2004 and a second team honor in 2003. The only senior on a Memphis squad that featured five newcomers for 2004, Walker helped Memphis make its first-ever appearance in the Conference USA Semifinals before the Tigers fell to eventual conference champ, Tulane.
A native of Jackson, Tenn., Walker capped his Tiger career with a number of Memphis firsts. He and then-doubles partner Ben Stapp were the highest-ever ranked doubles team in Tiger history when they were ranked No. 12 in the country in 2003, and Walker became the program's highest-ever ranked singles player in 2004 when he started the spring season ranked No. 48 in the country. He finished the season ranked No. 109 after a stellar 15-10 mark at No. 1 singles. All but one of his 10 losses came to a nationally-ranked singles players. Walker finished with a 49-28 mark in dual singles, and with a 54-43 overall singles mark in three years as a Tiger after transferring from Clemson.
The 2004 team captain, Walker was also active off the court for the Tigers. He was a crucial part of getting a chapter of the Fellowship for Christian Athletes (FCA) back on the U of M campus after a 10-year hiatus, and he served on a mission trip to Central America last summer. Walker also served a six-month internship at St. Jude Children's Hospital this year.
The ITA/Arthur Ashe Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship is awarded each year to one player in each region who has exhibited outstanding sportsmanship and leadership as well as scholastic, extracurricular and tennis achievements. Walker is Memphis' first men's ITA regional honoree. On the women's side, Sabrina Lindemann received the Cissie Leary Sportsmanship Award (the women's equivalent of the Arthur Ashe award), last season.
Walker will now compete against Georgetown's Dennis Cravedi, Georgia Tech's Scott Schnugg, Illinois' Phil Stolt, Tulsa's Tom Murray, Rice's William Barker Utah's Roeland Brateanu, Boise State's Guilaume Bouvier and San Francisco's Pablo Pires De Almedia for the national award. All the above mentioned individuals, plus Brown's Benjamin Brier, Tulsa's Tom Murray and Washington's Alexander Vlaski are all also candidates for the Rafael Osuna Sportsmanship Award, which is awarded to one player each year who demonstrates sportsmanship, character, excellent academics and has had outstanding tennis accomplishments. No Memphis player has ever won an ITA National Award outside of Scholar Athlete Awards.