For just the second time in 45 years, the Tennessee women’s basketball team will be searching for a new head coach.
It was confirmed in a release from the athletics department that Tennessee has decided to part ways with women's basketball head coach Holly Warlick . The decision comes at the conclusion of a particularly rough season for the Lady Vols.
In Warlick’s seventh year as the head coach, she led her squad to a 19-13 record, including a 7-9 mark in conference play. This season has been marked by having one of the worst losing skids in team history, at six contests in a row.
Tennessee failed to find any success in the NCAA Tournament, losing in the First Round for the first time since 2009, and just the second time ever. It was also the first season in which Tennessee failed to reach 20 wins in a single season since 1985.
Athletic director Phillip Fulmer spoke about the decision to move on.
"Holly has dedicated most of her adult life to the University of Tennessee and the Lady Vols program," Fulmer said. "She loves Tennessee, and Tennessee always needs to love her back
During her head coaching career, Warlick has posted a 168-61 overall record, and is 13-6 in career NCAA Tournament appearances. She took the Lady Vols to three Elite Eights, the furthest they went under her tutelage.
She had failed to advance past the second round of the tournament in the past two years, and hadn’t won the SEC Tournament since her second year in 2013.
Prior to being named head coach, Warlick served as an assistant coach and, before that, a player under legendary head coach Pat Summitt. In total, she has spent 34 years with Tennessee.
She was the first player in the team’s history to have her jersey number retired at the conclusion of her career. In 2001, she was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame as a player.
As an assistant, she won eight national championships with Tennessee, and was the direct successor when Summitt retired in 2012. Before joining Summitt’s staff, she briefly served as an assistant coach at Nebraska and Virginia Tech.
“I was part of this program. I played here,” Warlick said after the loss to UCLA. “Obviously coached with Pat Summitt… If I had a daughter, whether I’m coaching or not, I’d send them to the University of Tennessee.
“They just care about women. They care about women. That’s what you want.”
Tennessee was Warlick’s first experience as a head coach. The search will now begin for a new figurehead for a program that has had unprecedented stability in the past century.
Follow The Daily Beacon for updates as the search unfolds.