The first female tennis player Dave Mullins tried to lure to East Tennessee State didn’t exactly break his recruiting budget.
Kim Toohey was a senior at Science Hill High School, two miles from Mullins’ office, when he recruited her in 1988.
“She was the first female I signed, maybe the first player I signed,” Mullins said.
As it turned out, Mullins’ first player was a pretty good one. Toohey, now known by her married name of Kim Reid, will be inducted into ETSU’s Hall of Fame on Sunday.
“Coach Mullins always stressed we may not have been the most talented people on the court, but we worked harder than anybody,” Reid said. “It taught me if you put the effort and the work in, then you’ll have successful results in what you do. That transfers in other parts of your life, your career, your family.”
Reid’s family is a direct result of her tennis career. She met her husband, Arthur, during her freshman year at ETSU. He had played for Mullins at Roane State and was serving as a student assistant at ETSU.
“I met some lifelong friends through the tennis team,” she said. “And that’s how I met my husband. That was the best one.”
The Reids have three children, ranging in age from 8 to 18.
“They know this is a neat thing,” she said. “They’re very excited.”
Being inducted into the ETSU Hall of Fame wasn’t something that had been on Reid’s mind.
“When you’re playing, you don’t even think of things like that,” she said. “Then I graduated in May and got married in June. From that point on, it was sort of about my family so I didn’t dwell on my accomplishments or my record. It was a great four years, though. I had a great college experience.”
When Reid arrived at ETSU, she expected success. She also expected to be the top player on the team, which she soon learned was a bit unrealistic at first.
“Coming in, several of us had played No. 1 at our high schools,” she said. “It never really occurred to me that I wouldn’t be playing No. 1. We kind of had a rude awakening. I played No. 3 as a freshman and No. 2 as a sophomore. Halfway through my junior year I went to No. 1.”
That’s when Reid really began to shine. She had already been an all-conference selection, but in her senior year (1992) she was chosen as the Southern Conference’s player of the year. Her 62 singles victories represented a school record at the time.
“She was a very reliable player,” Mullins said. “She won some great matches during her career and she was a very good doubles player. She competed the same way in every match and every practice was the same. She came to work every day and provided good leadership for the team by the example she set.”
Reid was also a two-time Academic All-American and four-time Southern Conference Honor Roll selection. She graduated magna cum laude in 1992 with a degree in marketing.
Reid’s father, Bill Toohey, was the longtime director of ETSU’s Minidome. Her mother also worked at the university.
“I think this is a great tribute to Kim,” Mullins said. “They’re an ETSU family.”
Reid will join five other inductees in a ceremony Sunday at the Millennium Center’s ballroom. Also going in are basketball great Mister Jennings, basketball coach Ed DeChellis, Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith, runner Seamus Power and longtime P.A. announcer Norm Davis.
“I feel very humble going in with the people I’m going in with,” Reid said. “We would finish tennis practice and then scoot over to the basketball court. We loved watching Mister and Calvin (Talford) and Rodney (English) play.
“I have great memories of my time at ETSU. Sometimes it feels like it was just last year. Other times it feels like it was a long time ago.”