Alex Lee, known to hundreds of Wichitans as the force behind the McAdams National Junior Tennis and Learning of Wichita Foundation and as a tennis coach at Friends University, and to hundreds more as a competitive singles and doubles player has been named to the Missouri Valley USTA Hall of Fame.
Lee joins the late Charles “Goose” Doughty and James Buddy Fields from Wichita and the late Fred Johnson of Kansas City, as African Americans in the Hall of Fame.
“Of the four African Americans in the Hall of Fame, three came out of the McAdams program, so I think we’re doing pretty well,” Lee said.
The Missouri Valley section of USTA includes five states – Kansas, Missouri, Oklahoma, Nebraska and Iowa. Lee is currently serving a two-year term as President and Chairman of the Board of the Missouri Valley USTA.
Tennis Paves a Path to College Scholarship
“Not every player can get a basketball or football scholarship. But almost any kid who works at it can get a college scholarship in tennis somewhere,” Lee said.
It was a tennis scholarship that sent Lee to college at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, an HBCU. He received a B.S. in Business Administration in 1978 after playing varsity tennis for the UAPB Golden Lions for three years.
For 30 years, he put that degree to work at Boeing Wichita, where he was a Business Systems Analyst and IT Project manager.
But he maintained an interest in tennis and a passion for helping young people learn to enjoy the sport. He received his PTR professional tennis teaching certification in 2001 and in 2009, he founded two nonprofit tennis organizations to promote tennis in multicultural communities, McAdams National Tennis and Learning of Wichita foundation and Lee Sports Foundation in Pine Bluff, Ark. During the sphe McAdams NJTL foundation teaches free tennis lessons to youth and adults at McAdams Park.
After his retirement from Boeing in 2015, he went to work as head mering and summer, tn’s tennis coach for Friends University. He earned his USPTA Elite Professional tennis teaching certification in 2019.
“I learned to play tennis at McAdams, thanks to the McAdams Tennis Club started by Charles “Goose” Doughty, Jr.,” Lee said. Doughty started the McAdams program to encourage Black kids to play tennis and take advantage of the opportunities it offers, including college scholarships.
The Awards Banquet will be Dec. 2 in Olathe at Embassy Suites.