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VIProfile: Tayo Bailey-Duvall

As Tayo Bailey-Duvall enters her sixth season as the head coach of the Blue Raider Women’s Tennis program at Middle Tennessee State University, she is preparing for lots of changes. Personally, she is expecting her second child, another girl. And professionally, the tennis department will be moving into new facilities at the end of January. 

Bailey-Duvall is excited about what the new facilities will bring to the tennis program. But, she is used to building strong programs with the resources she has available. When she was the head coach of the Women’s Tennis Team at Butler University, the program was never fully funded, but she still had a winning team.

During her time at Butler, Bailey-Duvall's team won a Big East Tournament match in four of her five seasons. Additionally, the tennis program earned NCAA Public Recognition Awards every year she was head coach. The award honors teams for ranking in the top 10% of their sport based on their multiyear Academic Progress Rates.

At MTSU, she has accumulated 52 wins and had two winning seasons. In 2023, she helped lead the Blue Raiders to their first season undefeated at home since 2014-15 and earned 12 wins. The new facilities will mean a lot to keep building a winning team.

The $7.1 million outdoor tennis complex is replacing the old Buck Bouldin Tennis Courts, that were located on the corner of Middle Tennessee Boulevard and Greenland Drive, which were in poor repair. New state-of-the-art facilities will include locker rooms, enhanced spectator seating, eight upgraded courts, new coaches’ offices, the latest technology and a lobby space that will be available for events.

When the new tennis complex is added with the new $66 million Student-Athlete Performance Center, Bailey-Duvall believes it will be a giant step forward for her team. Better facilities draw better athletes. The three-story, 85,500-square-foot building, connected to the north end of Floyd Stadium, will contain new athletic training, weightlifting and nutrition areas. 

Much of Bailey-Duvall’s recruiting is done over-seas. She has young ladies from six countries, as well as the United States. There are two from India, two from Germany, two from Italy, two from Australia and one each from Portugal and Switzerland. 

“I like our diverse team,” said Bailey-Duvall. “But, it means we have to build a following. We don’t have a lot of families coming in to cheer and be our fanbase. I tell the girls that we have to create that. We create that by getting involved in the community and giving back and meeting new people and creating fans in that way.” 

Her team gets to choose their community service projects. Bailey-Duvall assigns two players each month to choose a project, something they are passionate about. Besides helping with the MTSU blood drive, the ladies have helped with the Middle Half, the Christmas Parade and the Boys and Girls Club Steak and Burger Night fundraiser. 

Bailey-Duvall learned about community service as she was taking tennis lessons through Love To Serve, Inc. in the south side of Chicago where she grew up. It is a 501(c)3 nonprofit whose mission is to “provide quality tennis and education that contributes to positive youth development, improves student-academic outcomes and builds knowledge and skills for future success in college and careers.”

It was a comment from Bailey-Duvall’s mother that got her involved with Love To Serve, Inc. Her mother told her that she looked like former top-10 professional tennis player Chanda Rubin. Then she gave Bailey-Duvall a tennis racket as a Christmas present. She fell in love with the game. 

She received a full scholarship at Butler University, where she excelled as a player. Bailey-Duvall was a three-time, first team, All-Conference tennis honoree. She boasted a 74-46 all-time singles record and led the Bulldogs to three appearances in the Horizon League tournament final before graduating in 2006 with a degree in biology.

After graduation, she was asked by Jason Suscha to become the Women’s Tennis Team assistant coach at Butler. During the two seasons she was an on staff, Butler advanced to the Horizon League championship match. 

After two years of teaching and coaching at Butler, she decided she wanted to become a professional player. She played tennis professionally at the Goldfine-Smatt International Tennis Academy in Hallandale Beach, Florida, for two years before returning to Butler, where she took on the role as head coach for six years.

“I like teaching and coaching,” said Bailey-Duvall. “I love seeing kids grow and improve. I am currently teaching a class on athletic coaching and officiating. And, I help teach summer tennis camps for both kids and adults. The Nike Adult Tennis Camp this year will take place at MTSU from May 31 through June 2.

With the spring season upon her and the new baby kicking, Bailey-Duvall is figuring out how to get everything organized. She’s a forward thinker, always looking for new ways to make the team better.

She has many mentors that help her build her skills and with whom she shares ideas. One of those mentors is retired Vanderbilt University Head Women’s Tennis Coach Geoff Macdonald and the current Head Women’s Tennis Coach Aleke Tsoubanos. Tsoubanos has three children and runs a strong tennis program, so Bailey-Duvall is getting tips from her on how to make it all work.

“I’m preparing for my maternity leave mid-season,” added Bailey-Duvall. “I’m learning to give my trust to my coaching team. But, I’ll be watching all the home matches while I’m on leave.” 

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