For the first time in nearly two decades, Tarleton will be in search of a new leader for the women's tennis program after head coach Lance Drake has announced his resignation effective May 1 due to health concerns.

"After much prayer, discussion and counsel from those closest to me, I have decided to step down as the head tennis coach at Tarleton State University due to health and family concerns," said Drake. "These concerns - some beyond my control - require immediate attention and are where I need to put all of my focus."

Drake will end his illustrious career as the most decorated tennis coach in the history of Tarleton State University.

"Coach Drake has done a tremendous job as the leader of our tennis program," said Athletic Director Lonn Reisman. "He has been a great model, not only for our student-athletes, but for our entire athletic department. I appreciate the professionalism he has displayed for the last 19 years and he will be greatly missed. He's a class act in every way."

Drake has coached four different players to the Lone Star Conference Player of the Year award, as well as six LSC Sportsmanship Players of the Year and several Wilson/ITA Central Region Championships, ITA South Central Region Most Improved awards, ITA Rookies of the Year, Academic All-LSC selections, LSC Freshmen of the Year, Academic All-Americans, and the Division II ITA/Arthur Ashe, Jr. Sportsmanship and Leadership Award winners for the Central Region. He has also had the opportunity to coach numerous nationally ranked players.

"It has been an honor and a privilege to be a part of the athletic staff and an employee of Tarleton State University," said Drake. "I will always be grateful for the opportunity I was afforded back in 2000. I'd like to thank the administration and all of the student-athletes who made the choice to come and compete for the purple and white. Their hard work and sacrifices have left the program in a better place today.”

There will be a reception for Drake held in the Texan Room at Wisdom Gym on Friday, April 26, from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. The public is invited to the come-and-go event.