Harper taking over at alma mater Tennessee


Harper was a starting point guard for the Lady Vols and won three straight national championships from 1996 to 1998 under legendary coach Pat Summitt.

Former Tennessee women's basketball player Kellie Harper will be the next coach at Tennessee, multiple outlets reported Monday.

Harper would be the replacement for Holly Warlick, who was sacked March 27 after posting a 172-67 record in seven seasons.

Before her time at Missouri, Harper led NC State for four seasons and had a mixed bag of results.

Harper is only one of 11 coaches to lead three different schools to the NCAA tournament (Western Carolina, North Carolina State and Missouri State). She owns a 118-79 record in six seasons at Missouri State and grew up about 100 miles west of Tennessee's campus in Sparta, Tennessee. She has taken the Lady Bears to the NCAA tournament twice, including this season's run to the regional semifinals as a No. 11 seed.

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Missouri State (25-10) finished No. 24 in the final USA Today coaches' poll, which was the team's first national ranking in 15 years.

Harper was sacked by NC State in 2013 after going 70-64 in four seasons and promptly landed at Missouri State, which she has led twice to the NCAA Tournament.

"I am thankful to Kellie for restoring the pride back to Lady Bears basketball", Missouri State athletic director Ryan Moats said in a statement. She played alongside WNBA legends Chamique Holdsclaw and Tamika Catchings at UT.

Fulmer also added: "She certainly knows the expectations that come with this job, as she has lived it herself".

Warlick was let go after going 172-67 (78-34) in seven seasons, making the NCAA tournament every year and advancing to three Elite Eights. The past three seasons, however, the team failed to get out of the first weekend and that led to her dismissal. She began her coaching career in 2000 as an assistant at Auburn, before joining the staff at Chattanooga. But UT was 19-13 last season, barely qualifying for the tournament before being eliminated in the first round by UCLA.