Sports obituary: Former Wonder tennis star dies

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Staff report

KANNAPOLIS — Bailey Allison Gainey, one of the best tennis players in A.L. Brown history, died on Friday.

Gainey was 41. She passed away at Atrium Health-Cabarrus.

In the late 1990s, Gainey was tennis team MVP four straight years for the Wonders and was All-South Piedmont Conference all four years.

She was SPC Player of the Year twice.

She was regional champion once and regional runner-up twice, qualifying for three state tournaments as an individual.

Gainey also played basketball and softball and was the Wonders’ Female Athlete of the Year for the 1998-99 school year.

She played three tennis for three years at UNC Charlotte and had 19 wins as a freshman.

She played her senior year at Catawba in 2002 and helped the Indians break the existing school record for team wins with 17. She played No. 3 singles and No. 2 doubles for the Indians, and was second team All-South Atlantic Conference.

She went to work for Lowe’s after Catawba and eventually became an Emergency Medical Technician.

Gainey loved animals and was a sports fanatic. Duke basketball was at the top of a list that also included the Carolina Panthers, the Atlanta Braves and the Charlotte Hornets.

Gainey’s son, Jayden Wellman, inherited a passion and skill for tennis, starred for A.L. Brown and was a 4A state qualifier last spring.

He will play tennis and continue his education at Pfeiffer University.

A memorial service for Gainey will be held Friday, Feb. 3, at 2 p.m. in the chapel of Whitley’s Funeral Home.