Albuquerque’s tennis community has lost of one its great ambassadors and coaches.
Becky Lee, who led the Albuquerque High girls tennis program to consecutive state championships in 2015 and 2016 and who was a steadfast and passionate champion of youth tennis in the city, has died.
Lee succumbed Monday afternoon following a six-year battle with cancer. She was believed to be 54.
“She was just an amazing friend, she was an unbelievable coach, and the girls just loved her,” said current AHS girls tennis coach Liz Keefe. “The girls are just heartbroken to hear that she’s passed.”
Lee and Keefe are longtime friends who have alternated as the Bulldogs’ head coach over the last dozen years. Lee was head coach from 2013-18, then Keefe — who was the head coach before Lee — stepped back into the role.
“She loved coaching and she loved working with the kids,” Keefe said. “She was a brave and incredible woman and a wonderful friend. I will miss her every single day.”
Lee’s death reverberated throughout the city.
“She was one of the most courageous and caring people that I’ve ever met,” said La Cueva High boys tennis coach Dick Johnson, who had known Lee for about 20 years. “It’s a real loss for our community.”
The always-friendly and outgoing Lee was also heavily involved in the USTA’s summer junior team tennis program, and Johnson said she was one of the prime movers of the city’s middle school league, coordinating much of its activities. Lee coached middle school teams at Wilson and Washington.
“She was spirited, she was fun, and she was wonderful with juniors and kids,” Johnson said.
Lee and Keefe were chosen as co-USTA Southwest Section high school tennis coaches of the year in 2015.
“Becky was a pillar in the Albuquerque tennis community. She served as Community Tennis Representative for the USTA Northern New Mexico Region, as well as being our Albuquerque High head coach for six years. She did an excellent job in guiding our tennis program to two state championships and three prestigious Metro titles (2016-18),” AHS athletic director Doug Dorame said in an email statement to the Journal. “The Albuquerque High community would like to express our sincerest condolences to the Lee family.”
Lee, a former college player at New Mexico State, was chosen as the New Mexico High School Coaches Association tennis coach of the year in 2015.
Her daughter, Chloe, won three individual state tennis titles (2012-14) at AHS, the last two with her mom as head coach.
“She was so committed to seeing middle (school) and high school players excel in life through tennis,” said New Mexico Activities Association executive director Sally Marquez. “She left a lasting, positive impact on so many student-athletes. She will be missed.”