Tarleton tennis faces post-season without Coach Drake

By Blanca Izquierdo—

Multimedia Journalist

Neekita Sud is a sophomore on the Tennis team. Photo courtesy of Tarleton Athletics.

After nearly two decades, 2009 to 2019, leading Tarleton tennis head coach Lance Drake has put a definitive end to his memorable career. He said his resignation, effective May 1, is due to health reasons.

“These concerns – some beyond my control – require immediate attention and are where I need to put all of my focus,” Drake said to Tarleton Athletics.

Drake has been the most successful Tarleton tennis coach in the history of the program. He led Tarleton to 11 NCAA Regional tournaments and registered the program’s first Elite Eight appearance.

“It has been an honor and a privilege to be a part of the athletic staff and an employee of Tarleton State University,” Drake added.

He also had the opportunity to coach four Lone Star Conference Players of the Year, including junior Alicia Barbaroux.

“I am very thankful I had the opportunity to play for him. He’s an amazing person and coach,” she said. “We’re all going to miss him.”

Elianne Douglas-Miron, the team’s graduate assistant, will be leading the team for the rest of the season. A new head coach will be announced prior to next season.

“Taking over as a head coach is an exciting challenge,” Miron said. “I’ve been with this for two years and I’ve built strong relationships.”

On April 28, Douglas and the Texans suffered a 5-2 loss to Angelo State in their last home match of the season. Shelby Fillingame, the only senior player, was recognized before the game.

“My college tennis career has been a roller coaster and I’ve had to deal with a lot of adversity,” Fillingame said. “God gave me the opportunity to continue competing. I’m glad I stuck through the hard times and never gave up.”

Tarleton tennis will head to Waco to compete for the LSC Championship title and to earn a place in the South-Central Regional tournament.

“The LSC tournament is very important for us. We get to play all the teams we saw in season,” Douglas added. “I know the girls are up for the challenge.”

The Texans are in the No. 5 seed and will play on Thursday at 2:00 p.m. against Cameron University at the Waco Regional Tennis Center.

“We have to go game by game. First, we’re going to focus on Cameron,” Barbaroux said. “We know what we have to do. We’re going to practice, make the last adjustments, and we will be ready for this weekend.”

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