After successfully playing various sports as a college athlete, Mississippi University for Women alumna Wanda McPhail has shifted those skills into a 30-year, award-winning coaching career.
McPhail received the Wilson/ITA Junior College Women's Coach of the Year Award in December. She was presented this award during the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's National Coaching Convention held in Naples, Fla. She currently serves as the head coach of the men's and women's tennis teams at Meridian Community College (MCC), which has won a combined total of 18 Region XXXIII championships and nine Mississippi Association of Community and Junior College state titles.
Before McPhail gained her success as a coach at Meridian Community College, she began her career on the court as a basketball and tennis player at East Central Community College.
At The W, she became involved in volleyball and badminton. She credits many of her former coaches, including Dr. Barbara Garrett, for seeing her potential and being instrumental in her life. McPhail graduated summa cum laude in 1973 with a degree in physical education and a minor in science. In 1978, she received her master's degree in physical education at Mississippi State University.
For several more years, she coached at schools in Mississippi, gaining a reputation for being a hardworking and successful coach. Immediately after graduating from MUW, she became the head basketball coach at Kate Griffin Junior High School. After taking a 14-year break from coaching to raise her three children, she returned to her first love, coaching at West Lauderdale High School. She was the basketball, volleyball, tennis and cheerleading coach there from 1991-2000. In volleyball, she delivered a 78-25 career mark, and in tennis she coached two state champions and a Class 3-A state runner-up team. In fall 2000, she became the head tennis coach at Meridian Community College.
"I never dreamed that I would ever leave West Lauderdale, especially to coach college tennis, even though I was an avid tennis player playing every day of the week and sometimes twice with a group of league players."