Kim Gidley enters her 19th season as head coach of the women’s tennis team at the Academy. The 2017 USPTA National College Coach of the Year led the Falcons to their eighth-straight winning season; breaking 35 Division I records and adding three players to the All-Mountain West first-team.
Gidley led Air Force to its first 20-win season at the Div. l level in 2017– a feat that only 12% of all Div. I women’s programs accomplished. The 2017 Falcons, who were the lowest seed in the Mountain West Conference, made history by advancing to the semifinals as seventh-seeded Air Force defeated second-seeded Fresno State. The Falcons finished fifth in conference and saw three regional award winners and the team’s first-ever nationally ranked doubles team. For the sixth consecutive year, Gidley’s Falcons achieved an Academic Progress Rate in the top 10%.
Gidley, the first civilian head coach in the 40-year history of the program, became the winningest coach in the history of the program in 2003 with her 76th victory. Since then, Gidley has recorded 12 winning seasons with a career record of 243-236, including coaching the program’s most winningest player to date, Chloe Forlini (2016), who amassed 199 career wins. In 2016-17, Gidley helped guide TJ Fumagalli to a program record for single-season wins as Fumagalli recorded 40 singles wins and 39 doubles wins with a perfect 38-0 mark in dual meet matches.
The women’s tennis team is traditionally one of the most successful women’s programs at the Academy and has found great success off the court as well. Women’s tennis has had a top 10 percent APR the last six years, the lone program to do so.
Even though she is a civilian coach, Gidley is familiar with military life. She grew up in a military family as her father, Jim, was a Lt. Col. in the Air Force and retired in 1977 after 22 years of service.
Prior to joining the Academy’s staff, Gidley was an assistant coach at the University of Idaho in 1997-98.
Gidley is a 1989 graduate of Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in education. At SIUE, Gidley helped the Cougars to the 1989 NCAA Division II national championship while earning All-American honors for the second consecutive year. She was ranked nationally as high as No. 3 in singles and No. 5 in doubles during the year.
The Abilene, Texas, native was also a standout in the classroom. She earned GTE Academic All-American honors and was SIUE’s top scholar-athlete. She was also awarded an ITCA academic postgraduate scholarship. In 2008, Gidley was inducted into SIUE’s Athletic Hall of Fame as a member of the 1988 and `89 championship teams.
Prior to attending SIUE, Gidley attended Abilene Christian University. She lettered in tennis and won her first All-America honor while leading the Wildcats to an NCAA Division II national runner-up finish. She was ranked No. 5 nationally in singles and No. 6 in doubles. Gidley was also invited to the 1984 Olympic Trials for tennis.
Following graduation, Gidley began her coaching career as the assistant women’s coach at West Virginia University. While at WVU, she earned a master’s degree in gifted education. Her first collegiate coaching experience resulted in the school’s only 20-win season in history, along with a player inducted this past fall into the West Virginia Hall of Fame.
She then returned to her hometown to coach at her high school alma mater, Abilene High School. She was an assistant from 1990-93 who helped lead the team to a 5A Texas state championship in 1993. She became the head coach from `93-97.
Gidley’s coaching experience and success is not limited to the high school and collegiate ranks. She has held several assistant and head professional positions at various country clubs and municipal tennis centers, while coaching some of the best junior players in the country.
Gidley worked with the No. 1 ranked male and female players from Kentucky, Texas and West Virginia. In addition, she has coached over 300 USTA sectionally-ranked players and many nationally ranked juniors, including one former player with a world ranking and two former All-Americans.
Additionally, she twice served as a clinician at the Youth through Education and Sports program (Y.E.S.) held at the NCAA Tournament, coached the USTA Intermountain Boys & Girls 16s National Zonal Team from 2001-03 and coached the USTA Intermountain Girls 18s Federation Cup Team from 2002-07, along with serving on the NCAA Division I Central Region ranking committee and Division I Regional Advisory Committee for women’s tennis and the ITA Operating Committee. While at USAFA, she has hosted numerous events to include: National Junior 14 Zonals, ITA Summer Circuit and other ITA events, as well as being the first leg of the Grand Slam for the Little Mo Internationals.
Active in the community, Gidley was the national winner of the USTA/ITA Community Outreach Award for all collegiate programs and the Intermountain Tennis Association’s award recipient on three other occasions. In 2012 she also received the Clyde Rogers Award from the Intermountain Section as well. Gidley belongs to several professional tennis organizations, including the United States Professional Tennis Association. She has been honored on three occasions by the USPTA as the Intermountain College Coach of the Year and was the Mountain Region - Wilson/ITA Coach of the Year in 2012, along with being named USAFA’s Instructor of the Semester for lifetime sports twice and Aquatics once. Gidley considers her greatest accomplishments off the court in helping the Academy produce officers who are leaders of character. This is evident, as 16 of her players here at USAFA have earned regional/conference awards for their sportsmanship/leadership, with Hannah Dake winning the National ITA Arthur Ashe Jr. Sportsmanship/Leadership Award in 2013.
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