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USTA North Carolina ED Kelly Gaines Honored by NCSU

On Saturday night a dinner was held at Tyler’s Taproom in Raleigh in honor of Kelly Key Gaines for her contributions to tennis at NC State Tennis and to tennis in North Carolina.

For a video of her ceremony CLICK HERE

About 50 people were in attendance and the following people spoke on Kelly’s behalf…Hans Olsen, Women’s Tennis Coach at NC State, Mary Lloyd Barbera, co-worker and former NC State player, Ted Reese, former President of USTA North Carolina and Jenny Garrity, one of Kelly’s former players at NC State and past coach there and at UNC-Wilmington.

"I love NC State," Key-Gaines said. "I had a wonderful experience here. I love my Wolfpack and I love the women who were here when I was here. I thank the NC State family very much."

On Sunday, a tour of the newly renovated Reynolds Coliseum was given to Kelly and some of her friends and family.  Later that morning, Kelly was honored on court with her family just before the start of the women’s match between NC State and Maryland.  She was given a plaque and thanked NC State for the honor.  There were also several friends, former players that she coached and volunteers and staff that Kelly has worked with at USTA North Carolina in attendance. NC State defeated Maryland 7-0.


Background on Kelly Gaines:

  • Grew up in Burlington, NC and played junior tennis in NC and high school tennis for Burlington Williams
  • Played tennis at Peace College and graduated in 1982
  • Graduated from UNC-Chapel Hill in 1984
  • Names Assistant Tennis Professional at Olde Forest Racquet Club in Elon after graduation from UNC
  • Named Head Tennis Professional at North Hills Club in Raleigh in 1985
  • Named Assistant Coach for the men and women at NC State in 1987 and two years later became the Head Women’s Coach until 1995
  • Led her teams to many first-time achievements at NC State, including becoming the first coach to have an athlete complete in the NCAA singles tournament, coaching the only two players to be selected to the ACC 50th anniversary team and having the best winning percentage and most wins in a season at 15.
  • Named Executive Director of USTA North Carolina and the NC Tennis Foundation in 1995
  • During her tenure at NC State, her teams finished in the top 35 in the NCAA rankings her last 2 years, beat UNC twice her last 2 years, had the first player to go to NCAA’s in singles and placed 2 players to the ACC 50th Anniversary team (Kylie Hunt and Jenny Sell Garrity).  Her teams also had a steady improvement with GPA’s during her tenure.
  • During her tenure at USTA North Carolina, Kelly has seen her staff grow from 3 in 1995 to 11 in 2013. 
  • During her tenure North Carolina has lead the Southern section in membership growth. 
  • Has Chaired the USTA Southern Executive directors several years and participated in a successful $1.7 million capital campaign for the NC Tennis Foundation. 
  • She received the Mary Milam Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005 given to an individual who played junior tennis and has served tennis in North Carolina as an adult.
  • Kelly continues to play USTA League Tennis at the 4.5 level and captains several teams with her partner in crime, Mary Lloyd Barbera!  She likes to say one of her biggest achievements was winning the NC State 35’s doubles together in 2000!
  • She volunteers at her church, Adams Farm Community Church in Greensboro, and serves on the Administrative Team, the Finance and Budget Team and the Staff Management team. 
  • She has recently joined the Greensboro Sports Commission Board and is a member of the Greensboro Sports Council.
  • Kelly is married to Greg Gaines and they live in Greensboro.