Smiths named 'Tennis Family of the Year' for SC
“The family that plays tennis together stays together” could be the motto of the Smith family of Daniel Island.
But there is a slight twist for the Smith family, which includes mom Cori, dad Michael and children Luke, Jake and Max. When the Smiths hit the road to watch their tennis sons in action, dad occasionally takes a break from the serves, volleys and stress of high performance tennis.
“He helps balance everyone and everything out,” Cori Smith said of her husband Michael, who serves as a golf pro on Daniel Island. “Sometimes he brings his fishing poles or finds other things to do when he needs a break from the action.”
The Smiths are committed to tennis and if you need proof, just check out the family’s resume. The Smiths have been named the USTA Tennis Family of the Year for South Carolina and will be honored this month at the organization’s annual banquet.
Cori has been a longtime tennis instructor and coach while enjoying a wildly successful playing career.
Her sons are also talented. The youngest child, Luke, is only 8 but is state ranked in the 12-and-under group.
Jake, 11, is ranked in the top 20 in the South by the USTA in the 12-and-under group. Max, 14, is ranked in the top 20 in the South for the 14-and-under age group.
The family often hits the road on the weekend so their sons can compete at a high level. The two oldest brothers have played in tournaments in such locales as Florida, Alabama and Atlanta to name a few venues.
The boys are totally dedicated to the game. Jake and Max are both homeschooled at the MW Tennis Academy on Daniel Island at the Family Circle Tennis Center. Luke attends the academy’s after-school program three days a week.
The Smith boys are focused and driven to compete and succeed. But they can be found playing other sports, mainly soccer, for a change of pace.
Other award winners with Daniel Island connections include Jared Pratt and Katherine Lyman.
Pratt, who plays for Bishop England, won the junior boys’ Player of the Year honors while Lyman won the Kimberly Hampton girls’ Most Improved Player award .
Kimberly Hampton was named Most Improved Junior Girl in 1992. Kimberly was an outstanding junior player from Easley who went on to play for Presbyterian College, where she compiled an undefeated record in South Atlantic Conference matches. After college, she joined the US Army and rose to the rank of Captain. She was killed in 2004 when the helicopter she was piloting was shot down in Iraq. She was 27. Kimberly was a tough competitor, a fine young lady and a brave soldier.
The local award winners will join coaches, players and volunteers from all over the state and will be honored for their tennis achievements later this year by USTA South Carolina at the organization’s annual meeting on Isle of Palms.
“These award recipients showcase vast talent in the sport of tennis in South Carolina,” said Graham Cox, executive director of USTA South Carolina. “We are proud to celebrate their accomplishments and dedication to growing tennis throughout our state.”