Lee Taylor Walker will be entering his first year as the Head Coach of the University of Memphis women's tennis program in 2007-08. Walker is very familiar with not only Memphis and the surrounding tennis community, but also with what it means to be a Memphis student-athlete, as he was a standout men's singles and doubles player for the men's team from 2001-2004. He served the past three seasons as an assistant coach on the men's tennis team and spent the 2006-07 season as an assistant for the Lady Tiger team.
Walker, a native of Jackson, Tenn., played for Memphis from 2001-2004, teaming with Ben Stapp in his first season in Memphis to become the highest-ranked doubles tandem in school history, ranking No. 12 in the country at the end of the fall 2001 season. Walker was also a nationally-ranked singles player at Memphis, capping his career as the No. 48 ranked player in the country. He won 54 singles matches playing primarily at No. 1 and 2 singles during his three-year Tiger career, and was 64-29 record in doubles. He was the school's first-ever Conference USA First Team Honoree and was named to the Conference USA All-Decade Men's Tennis Team.
"We are pleased to have a coach with the credentials of Lee Taylor Walker take over for Coach Peterson," said Memphis Athletic Director R.C. Johnson. "He has proven himself both as a player and student-athlete for the University of Memphis and we could not have been more pleased with his efforts as an assistant coach for the men's and women's tennis teams over the past year. I'm sure he will carry on the fine tradition that is Tiger tennis."
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 in August. Walker, a graduate of University School in Jackson, Tenn., received the ITA award after a stellar playing career and a long list of off-the-court accomplishments. Walker helped to re-form the Fellowship for Christian Athletes chapter at the University of Memphis as well as coordinating visits to Streets Ministries and St. Jude Children's Hospital.
"I am extremely grateful and excited for this opportunity to coach for Memphis. Playing at Memphis was a blessing, and I know working here will be even more rewarding," Walker said. "My desire is to develop a tennis program that produces champions and positive leaders. I believe this is done by pursuing excellence in all areas of life: personally through character growth and community service, intellectually through identifying passions and academic focus, and athletically by becoming a student of the game and competing against the best players in the country."
Walker will become the fourth former Tiger student-athlete to be named a head coach at his alma mater, joining men's golf coach Grant Robbins, track and field head coach Kevin Robinson, and women's soccer coach Brooks Monaghan. In total, seven former Tiger student-athletes are at least an assistant coach in the Tiger athletic department, including women's soccer's Jodi Grant, volleyball's April Jauregui, and women's basketball's Jennifer Sullivan.
As an assistant on both the Tiger and Lady Tigers' staffs, Walker coordinated summer camps in 2006 and currently works with Campus Outreach, a ministry on the U of M campus.
Walker came to the Tigers following one year at Clemson University. There, he was named to the ACC Academic Honor Roll. At Memphis, Walker was a two-time ITA Scholar Athlete. He 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.
"I am especially thankful to all my former coaches and mentors who have taught me so much about tennis and life," Walker said. "I look forward to passing on all I have learned."
Walker married to former Lady Tiger soccer player Erin May Ferris in May of 2007.