Alumni

Since the programs inception in 1997, King Daddy Sports has developed and been an integral part in players tennis upbringing that has spring boarded many very successful players that have gone on to star at prestigious universities across the nation and compete professionally!

Kevin Zhu
  • Penn, Blue Chip top 10
  • #1 in the nation in all age groups

King Daddy was the perfect place for me to learn and grow. It not only gave me a place to practice with my friends, but it also allowed me to mature into the person I am today. The culture allowed me to thrive and achieve my goals in tennis.

Ashok Narayana

Attended Columbia University (2015); double major in Economics and History

Juniors

  • Ranked #1 in Texas in all age groups (12s through 18s)
  • Silver and Bronze ball in super-national tournaments
  • 2011 National Sportsmanship Award recipient
  • 2011 Texas John McFarlin Award for Most Outstanding Senior
  • 5-Star recruit with offers from: Columbia, Harvard, UPenn, Cornell, Northwestern and others

College

  • 2013 National Indoor Champion (doubles)
  • 4-time All-Ivy Player (for singles and doubles)
  • #6 Doubles Team in the Country
  • Top 100 Singles Player in the Country
  • 3-year captain (first in program history)
  • 2015 Columbia Scholar-Athlete Award (awarded to one student-athlete at Columbia each year)
  • Helped program reach highest ranking at that time ever (#11 in country)

King Daddy created my foundation as a tennis player and as a person. As someone in the workforce now, I value a lot of the character traits that King Daddy instilled in me, such as: Work Ethic, Perseverance, and Competitiveness.

Work Ethic: Going to King Daddy after school every day instilled a certain work ethic that has prepared me well for a post-college career. There were many days (or even months) that I did not want to play tennis; however, by continuing to stick with the King Daddy program, I believe that it taught me the value of hard work.

Perseverance: Tennis is one of the best sports when it comes to truly pushing an individual to be his/her best. It’s a game that naturally forces someone to push through various mental barriers over the course of a match. The King Daddy coaches helped me push through a particularly tough time as I switched from a two-handed forehand to a one-handed forehand when I was ~13 years old. At the time, I was ranked #1 in Texas and once I made the switch, I started losing to many players that I had beaten only a few months prior. King Daddy gave me the foundation, belief and resources to commit to the process and persevere through the adversity. Switching to a one-handed forehand ended up being a great decision and I ended up getting back to the #1 ranking

Competitiveness: Last, King Daddy fosters a very competitive environment. I obviously enjoyed the sport and ended up having a life-long King Daddy friend group, but the practices were very intense. I think that the environment that the coaches created helped us succeed on match day. Furthermore, once I got to college, I realized that I was more used to this competitive culture than many other teammates who did not have the chance to play at a King Daddy-type of academy growing up.

Ashok currently works in finance (private equity) in New York City.

Crystal Leung

Attended Columbia University Class of 2015

College Tennis Accomplishments

  • 4-Time Academic All-Ivy League
  • Reached a career high of No. 19 in doubles in the ITA National Collegiate Tennis Rankings
  • 2015 All-Ivy Doubles First Team
  • Earned an invitation to the NCAA Doubles Championship in 2014
  • Posted a 15-1 doubles mark in Spring 2014, and went 6-0 in conference singles matches
  • 2013 All-Ivy Doubles Second Team
  • 2013 ITA Northeast Region Doubles Champion
  • 2013 Billie Jean King National Tennis Center Women’s Collegiate Invitational A Draw Doubles Champion
  • 2011 Billie Jean King National Tennis Center Women’s Collegiate Invitational A Draw Doubles Champion

Juniors Tournaments

  • 2011 February USTA National Open Girls’ 18 Doubles Champion
  • 2011 USTA Texas Super Championship Excellence Girls’ 18 Singles Champion
  • 2010 November USTA National Open Girls’ 18 Doubles Semifinalist
  • 2010 USTA Texas Super Championship Excellence Girls’ 18 3rd Place Singles
  • 2010 USTA Texas Grand Slam Girls’ 18 4th Place Singles
  • 2010 USTA Texas Grand Slam Girls’ 18 Doubles Semifinalist
  • 2009 USTA Winter Nationals Girls’ 16 Doubles Quarterfinalist
  • 2009 USTA San Diego National Championships Doubles Quarterfinalist
  • 2009 USTA Texas Grand Slam Girls’ 16 Doubles Finalist
  • 2009 USTA Texas Grand Slam Girls’ 16 Singles Consolation Finalist
  • 2009 Jan USTA Texas Sectional Girls’ 16 Singles Champion
  • 2008 Oct USTA Texas Sectional Girls’ 16 Singles and Doubles Champion
  • 2008 USTA Texas Grand Slam Girls’ 16 Doubles Finalist

High School

  • 2011 State UIL 5A Doubles Champion
  • 2010 Regional Team Finalist
  • 2009 Reginal Mix Doubles Champion
  • 2009 Regional Team Finalist
  • 2008 Regional Doubles Finalist
  • 2008 Regional Team Finalist
  • 2007 Regional Team Champion and State Semifinalist

King Daddy was a great place for me to grow up. When I was a pre-teen & teenager, I looked forward to practice every day after school (even despite all the conditioning we did back then) because it was fun environment, challenged me as a tennis player, and was a place where I could spend time with some of my closest friends (who I remain in touch with even to this day). I attribute my success both in college and today in a corporate office environment to the structure King Daddy provided me as a child. Todd, Steve, and the coaching staff all cared about your development as a person, not only as a tennis player, which was something that I came to appreciate much more after attending college and playing on a Division 1 varsity team. Come to King Daddy – you won’t regret it!

Jenn (Yeh) Wong
  • Attended University of Pennsylvania
  • Class of 2002
  • 2 years on Penn Tennis Team

I loved what tennis taught me about working hard, winning and losing, teamwork, and friendship. I loved the coaches and the community they built. The memories are such a foundational part of my life.

Jenn currently lives in beautiful Seattle WA as a Senior Director of Beverage Innovation at Starbucks Coffee Company. She is a proud mama of three kids; Katelyn, Ella, and Evan.

Daniel Whitehead
  • Attended The University of Texas
  • Team Captain
  • High ranking of 35 NCAA singles and 15 NCAA doubles

King Daddy was the FOUNDATION. Getting better and controlling your work ethic was what I remember most about King Daddy as a middle school / high school young tennis player and it applied perfectly to the collegiate environment I played in and now coach in.

Daniel has been coaching tennis since he graduated playing and the road has led him to Texas Tech Men’s Head Coach, where he plays “King Daddy Points” and strongly encourage and push his guys to GET BETTER TODAY.

Nick McCollin
  • Attended University of Texas Austin
  • B14, B16, B18
  • USTA top 15 ranked in Texas

King Daddy tennis academy taught me many key attributes that I utilized both on and off the tennis court to this day. It’s a high energy, high quality program that taught me the importance of discipline, hard work, mental toughness, competitiveness, and continuous improvement to my game from a fundamental skill standpoint. It was also a place that I grew up in and made life long friends and connections that are invaluable.

I believe that throughout any career you will be tested with competition and KD laid the foundation of how to be a good competitor on the court and in life.

#fight #letsgo

Nick currently works as an Engineering Project Manager in the Automation Controls and Cybersecurity industry.

Andrew Esses
  • Attended Emory University
  • 2019 DIII National Champion

King Daddy was a place in which I was able to learn fundamental skills like loving competition, pushing myself, and developing an identity as a tennis player. I still miss the days of playing challenge cup at the end of practice… and beating Steve Bryan at ping pong.

Andrew is currently pursuing a degree of Finance, Information Systems & Operation Management, and Economics at Emory University. He is able to be a key contributor on the Emory Men’s tennis team where he gets to compete for national championships. He played 3 singles and 3 doubles this past year which got cut short due to Corona, and played 5 singles his freshman year on a national championship team. Andew still hate Todd’s Patriots and Red Sox.

Ryan Murphy
  • Attended Yale University 2005
  • Captain
  • 1st Team All Ivy Singles and Doubles
  • ITA Academic All America
  • SPC Champion at Kinkaid
  • Six-ball time record holder

King Daddy was and is still a family for me. As was of the OG King Daddiers, I have nothing but fond memories. Todd and the team were instrumental in my athletic and PERSONAL development. They taught me the life lessons needed to succeed: hard work, discipline, accountability, friendship, teamwork and how to thrive out of your comfort zone to name just a few.

Currently, Ryan is a Managing Director in the Mergers & Acquisitions group at Wells Fargo’s Investment Bank. He live in Los Angeles with his wife Emily and daughter Hannah.

Will Showers
  • Attended Georgia Tech
  • Ranked 1st in Texas in 14 and unders (2nd place in Texas Grand Slam)
  • Ranked 2nd in Florida in 16 and unders
  • Ranked 1st in South in 18 and under
  • Ranked 8th in country in 18 and under
  • 8th in Tennis Recruiting class
  • Full Tennis Scholarship to Georgia Tech
  • Won Southern 18 and under (equivalent to Texas Grand Slam)
  • Bronze Ball (3rd place) at 18 and under Clay Courts Supernationals

King Daddy was an incredible place. Source of many friendships and the pre-eminent place to train in Houston and Texas more broadly. Played central role in development of my game and competitiveness on the court.

Will is currently working at Goldman Sachs as an Associate in the Investment Banking division

Mario Hernandez

I was fortunate to earn a Division 1 tennis scholarship to Lipscomb University, which also led to me coaching my alma mater as the head coach for four years. I’m definitely fortunate for what tennis has given me in terms of academic and career opportunities, but the life lessons, experiences, and friends that came from tennis were the best part and many of those came during my formative teenage years at King Daddy.

There are a lot of great things I can say about King Daddy, but if I think about what were the most important things, I’d have to say it was the toughness, competitiveness, and conditioning. The toughness came from a great group of coaches that didn’t let you act up and be disrespectful. I remember Todd having to send several players home from practice because they were acting up and that immediately taught accountability, but also about what real toughness was to some teenagers that didn’t know better yet! The competitiveness came naturally because there were so many good players and almost everything was competition. Moving up or down courts constantly whether you won or lost definitely helped you to learn how to handle competition and to know how you needed to improve. Finally, conditioning. I remember there were almost mythic stories about how much they ran at the end of King Daddy practices. Before I joined the program, I was definitely nervous before the first conditioning session started, but it made a huge difference. Most importantly, with the three aspects I spoke about, the most important thing was that all of these aspects to great learning and training were done in a fun environment. The training was tough, competitive, and exhausting, but I never felt like it was a job. It was always a blast because I was with all my friends and passionate coaches that made it a blast!

Currently, I’m a First Lieutenant in the U.S. Army working with drill sergeants to train civilians into soldiers at Basic Combat Training at Fort Sill, Oklahoma. With my playing and coaching background, I couldn’t ask for a better assignment in the Army. I may not be playing as much tennis these days, but the lessons I learned at King Daddy are still relevant today and I’d definitely do it all over again. I want to thank Todd, all the coaches, and friends along the way. Love you guys!

Annat Rabinovich
  • Attended UT Austin (walked on from freshman year through fall of senior year)
  • HS – 2011 State doubles champion with Crystal Leung (Katy Taylor HS)
  • College – ITA Scholar-Athlete (2013), Academic All-Big 12 First Team (2012-2014), played 3rd seed doubles to help win Big 12 Team Championship in 2013

King Daddy was my family away from home. I viewed Todd and Steve as my “tennis dads”. Growing up, King Daddy served as a vital foundation that instilled discipline, character, and grit in me. The amount of support that I constantly received from the head coaches was tremendous and unwavering. Not only did they care about my success on the court, but they also constantly pushed for us to excel in academics, and life, in general. They consistently encouraged mentorship, which inspired older players to aid in the development of younger players. In doing so, this facilitated stronger bonds and greater potential for success. This program is one of the main reasons I am where I’m at today in life, and I can’t thank them enough.

After UT Austin, Annat attended McGovern Medical School (formerly known as The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston) from 2016-2020. She will be completing a 5 year residency program in Orthopedic Surgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

Marissa Limsiaco
  • Attended West Point
  • NCAA Woman of the Year Award
  • First Player in Academy history to win over 100 doubles matches
  • Set 6 Academy records in career
  • Captain of Women’s Tennis Team
  • Patriot League First Team (3 yrs)
  • Patriot League MVP

What King Daddy was for you: King Daddy was the strongest group in Texas for coaches and training with a program that set me up to succeed at West Point, both mentally and physically. We had the top players in the state that challenged and motivated each other in every practice. Overall, the group (both players and coaches) were a family who supported each other, both on and off the court, to grow in our tennis careers.

Marissa is currently Co-Founder and President of startup company, 4Xstart up entrepreneur, Decorated combat veteran from operation Iraqi freedom 06-08, commander of 100+ Soldiers.

Brenna Shackelford
  • Attended Texas Christian University on a 4-year athletic scholarship for tennis.
  • NCAA Div I Conference champs x 3 years.
  • Nationally ranked junior.

King Daddy was everything for me as a young tennis player and teen. It was a community of the shared passion of tennis. It was a safe, positive place that we could spend after-school hours. It was having coaches and mentors that pushed us to be better tennis players and even more importantly, better humans. It was having travel companions and a cheering section at all of the tournaments. Really, it was my FAMILY! Many of these people I still keep in touch with and I truly value what Todd and all of our coaching staff was to us scrappy Houston kids back then. In fact, we were King Daddy before the name King Daddy was born! Cheers to the 1997 crew!

Brenna is now an Emergency Physician in Maui, Hawaii. She served as a physician in the US Air Force and now spend days surfing with her husband and teaching him tennis. They just recently attended the 2020 Australian Open!

Class of 2018

  • Kevin Zhu - University of Pennsylvania
  • Michael Raji - Harvard University
  • Andrew Esses - Emory University
  • Grant Mckenzie - Dallas Baptist University
  • Jillian Greenberg - Trinity University
  • Michael Barsky - George Washington University

Class of 2017

  •  Alex Gee - St. Mary's University
  • Sara Mabee - Washington University
  • Neils Mabee - Case Western University

Class of 2016

  • Nathan Reekie - University Nebraska - Omaha
  • Alana Larcombe - West Point
  • Luis Cuervo - Bowdoin College
  • Martina Bocci - U-Mass
  • Taylor Ysaguirre - Texas A&M
  • Jessi Nifong - Texas

Class of 2015

  • Rachel Cunningham- Texas A&M University
  • Peter Leung - University of Chicago
  • Kelly Zhu - MIT

Class of 2014

  • Emily Chen- Pomona University
  • Maria Cuervo- Swarthmore College
  • Sundar Devokattai- RPI
  • Nousha Nowamooz- University of San Diego
  • Aaron Reekie- University of Nebraska-Kearney
  • Anjali Singal- Texas A&M University
  • Courtney Wright- Metro State, Denver, Colorado

Class of 2013

  • Paloma Ala Torre- Longwood University
  • Hannah Byatt- University of Texas
  • Katie Davis- University of Texas
  • Ryan Heslop- University of Arkansas Fort-Smith
  • Krishna Jana- Naval Academy
  • William Jou- University of Texas
  • Rhiann Newborn- Syracuse and Baylor University
  • Thomas Pecor- Naval Academy
  • Grant Reichmann- West Point
  • Christian Vieira- Monmouth University
  • David Warren- Rice University

Class of 2012

  • Nicole Breaux- University Louisiana-Lafayette
  • Ria Gerger- Middlebury University
  • Zach Hall- Gordon College
  • Stefan Lemire- Boston University
  • Brette Machiorlette- University of Texas
  • Caroline White- Trinity University

Class of 2011

  • Stuart Kenyon- University of Alabama
  • Ashok Narayana- Columbia University
  • Crystal Leung- Columbia University
  • Natalie Chu- University of Houston
  • Clevin Cevallos- Texas A&M University
  • Gabrielle Fifer- Evansville University
  • Abraham Hsu- Texas A&M University
  • Alexander Huffman- University of Houston
  • Zach Marnitz- Lees Mcrae University
  • Behzad Menavi- Texas A&M University
  • Katherine Miller- Belmont Abbey University
  • Adriana Ocon- Vanderbilt University
  • Monica Pieratt- University Arkansas Fort Smith
  • Bianca Quintanilla- University of Texas
  • Annat Rabinovich- University of Texas
  • Michael Reichmann- Brown University
  • Mary Jo Villar- Lee College