The Tennessee women's basketball team has a new head coach.
The university announced the hiring of Kellie Harper, a former Lady Vol, on Tuesday. She will take over the head coaching role left vacant after Holly Warlick and the university parted ways about two weeks ago.
"I'm excited to have Kellie as our new women's basketball coach," athletic director Phillip Fulmer said. "She is a Lady Vol through and through. Her love for the game, her care for her players, and her loyalty to UT all came through during the interview process."
Warlick, who spent seven seasons as the Tennessee head coach, and another 31 seasons as an assistant and a player, was let go by Fulmer two weeks ago after a disappointing 19-13, 2019 campaign.
As for Harper, 41, the Sparta, Tenn., native played five seasons for Summit between 1995 and 1999 and was part of three-straight national championship teams for Tennessee.
In 1997, Harper was named to the All-Final Four Team.
Harper began her career in coaching in 2000, joining the Auburn women’s basketball staff as an assistant for one season before moving on to a similar role at Chattanooga from 2001-2004.
Harper landed her first head coaching gig at Western Carolina, where she spent six seasons leading the Catamounts out of the Southern Conference and a 97-65 mark before being hired away by NC State prior to the 2009 season.
At NC State, Harper took the Wolfpack to the NCAA Tournament in her first season, but failed to replicate that success in the following three seasons, missing out once and making the WNIT two other times before parting ways with the program.
In 2013, Harper was named head coach at Missouri State and in six seasons at the helm in Springfield, MO., has taken the Lady Bears to two NCAA Tournament appearances as well as two Missouri Valley Conference Tournament Championships.
The 2019 season concluded with a 55-46 loss to No. 2 seed Stanford in the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Women’s Tournament. The Lady Bears finished 20-9 overall, claiming the MVC Tournament Championship, earning Harper MVC Coach of the Year honors.
"I am incredibly humbled and honored to be named the head coach of the Tennessee Lady Vols," Harper said in the press release. "Tennessee holds a special place in my heart, and I am excited to embrace the legacy of this proud program."
Harper will operate under a five-year contract, making $750,000 per year. The university will hold a formal press conference on Wednesday for Harper.
Be sure to follow The Daily Beacon for more details on the hire.