Lady Tigers face 15 nationally-ranked opponents in 2014
Lady Tigers head to Florida to end fall season
Lady Tigers begin play Sunday at 8 a.m. (CT)
Liza Tymchenko and Skylar Kuykendall begin play tomorrow in pre-qualifying draw
Kuykendall defeats Ole Miss' No. 39 Caroline Rohde-Moe, 7-5, 3-6, 7-5
Eye of the Tiger is back and this time you get a chance to go behind the scenes of a women's tennis team practice as they take to the courts at the Racquet Club of Memphis.
Jeff Brightwell sits down with women's tennis head coach Lee Taylor Walker to talk about the Tigers trip to Houston last week for the C-USA Championship tournament. They also talk in depth about Memphis' chances at an at-large bid into their first ever NCAA Tournament.
Episode 71: Jeff Brightwell sits down with Head Coach Lee Taylor Walker and recaps Senior Day vs. UTEP and Southern Miss, the presentation for the seniors, and previews upcoming match at #16 Notre Dame. The Memphis Women's tennis team were 14-0 at home this season.
Episode 53: Jeff Brightwell sits down with Head Coach Lee Taylor Walker and talks about previous matches, current home winning streak, and upcoming matches this month vs. #60 Kansas State, #70 Columbia, and #12 Virginia.
Episode 36: Jeff Brightwell sits down with Head Coach Lee Taylor Walker and talks about the the past tournament and thoughts of the final season.
The 2013-14 campaign marks Lee Taylor Walker's seventh season as head coach of the University of Memphis women's tennis program.
The 2013 Wilson/ITA Ohio Valley Region Coach of the Year has made significant improvements to the program in his six years at Memphis. Walker guided the Lady Tigers to unprecedented success in the 2012-13 season with the program's first trip to the NCAA Tournament and a win in the first round of the tournament. Memphis entered the NCAA Tournament as the No. 3 seed in the Tuscaloosa Regional before defeating the No. 2 seed Florida State in dominant fashion, 4-1, to advance to the second round. Memphis finished its historic season at 18-7 and a national ranking of No. 32 after a 4-0 loss to No. 9 Alabama in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The 18 wins for the 2013 team tied for the fifth-most wins in a single season in program history.
Memphis achieved a program-high ranking of No. 22 on Feb. 26 after a 5-2 win over No. 16 Virginia, beating the highest-ranked opponent in program history. The Lady Tigers posted six wins over ranked teams during the season with three victories over teams in the top 25 (Virginia, Notre Dame and Florida State).
Memphis also received much recognition in Conference USA as six Lady Tigers earned C-USA accolades, tying a conference record. Skylar Kuykendall was named C-USA Freshman of the Year, becoming the first Lady Tiger to earn the honor. The Lady Tigers also earned regional accolades as Courtney Collins was named the ITA Ohio Valley Region Senior of the Year and Tiffany Welcher was honored with the region's Cissie Leary Award for Sportsmanship.
Walker helped Collins advance to her second-straight NCAA Singles Championships and a season-ending ranking of No. 50. Collins also finished the season No. 79 in doubles with Kelly Gray while the duo of Stefanie Mikesz and Caroline Wegner ranked No. 64 at the end of the season. Regionally, all eight Lady Tigers were recognized in either the singles or doubles rankings at the end of the season.
In 2012, the U of M spent all but one week during the spring season in the ITA rankings, reaching a then program-best No. 51 on Mar. 20. Walker guided Collins to become the program's first participant in the NCAA Women's Singles Championships after ending the regular season ranked No. 31.
In all, five Lady Tigers earned rankings in 2011-12, with Mikesz, Welcher, Mariya Slupska and Alyssa Hibberd joining Collins in the polls. Collins' 2012 ITA Ohio Valley Cissie Leary Award for Sportsmanship and All-C-USA First Team selection highlighted the 17 postseason awards earned by those five athletes and Kelly Gray.
The Lady Tigers have steadily improved in the rankings and wins column under Walker's direction. Heading into the 2012 season, Walker's squad boasted a program-best five nationally-ranked netters: No. 51 Stefanie Mikesz, No. 60 Courtney Collins, No. 98 Mariya Slupska in singles, and 41st-ranked duo Alyssa Hibberd and Tiffany Welcher.
In 2011, Walker guided Collins to All-Conference USA First Team honors and Slupska to C-USA Newcomer of the Year, both being first-ever selections for the program.
In 2010, Walker coached senior Ashley Murdock to her third-consecutive All-Conference USA Second Team selection and Collins to her first All-C-USA nod. In 2008-09, Walker's second season, the Lady Tigers went 10-13, including wins over conference foes Southern Miss and UAB.
In his first season as head coach, Walker led the Lady Tigers to a 9-13 mark. In the fall of 2008, Walker coached Murdock and Marjorie Ondeck to the semifinals of the 2008 ITA Southeast Regional in Winston-Salem, N.C. Murdock and Ondeck defeated doubles tandems from No. 13 Clemson, No. 17 North Carolina and No. 25 Tennessee on their way to the semifinals.
Walker, a native of Jackson, Tenn., played for Memphis from 2001-04, teaming with current assistant coach Ben Stapp in his first season to become the highest-ranked doubles tandem in school history, ranking No. 12 in the country at the end of the 2001 fall season. Walker was also a nationally-ranked singles player, climbing as high as No. 48 in the country. He won 54 singles matches, playing primarily at the No. 1 and 2 positions during his three-year Tigers career. He was 64-29 in doubles. He was the school's first Conference USA first team honoree and also was named to the C-USA Men's Tennis All-Decade Team (1995-2005).
Off the court, Walker was named the recipient of the 2004 ITA/Arthur Ashe Sportsmanship and Leadership award, which he received as part of U.S. Open festivities.
Walker received both his bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Memphis, graduating in December of 2006 with a Master's Degree in human movement sciences. After graduating, he spent three seasons as an assistant coach with the men's program and spent the 2006-07 season as an assistant for the Lady Tigers prior to being named the head coach of the program in 2007.
Walker is married to former Lady Tigers soccer player Erin May Ferris. He has one brother, Matt, who is a tennis coach in Bradenton, Fla. Walker is the son of Susan and Dr. Danny Walker, who was a quarterback at Vanderbilt and UT Martin.