5 things to know about Kellie Harper, the new basketball coach of the Lady Vols
Harper recently completed her sixth season as coach of Missouri State.
Tennessee fired coach Holly Warlick after seven seasons on March 27.
Here are five things to know about Harper:
Lady Vols fans know her as Kellie Jolly
Harper is a native of Sparta, Tennessee. She played for Pat Summitt and was the point guard for the Lady Vols' three-peat of championships from 1996-98.
Harper, then Kellie Jolly, averaged 6.8 points during her career and played distributor to Chamique Holdsclaw and Tamika Catchings. She could score when needed, evidenced by her 20 points in a 1998 national championship win over Louisiana Tech to cap a 39-0 season.
"The last thing Pat told me before the game started was I needed to be aggressive offensively," she told the News Sentinel after the game. "I knew I had to come out and do what she told me to do."
Harper earned Associated Press honorable mention All-America honors as a senior in 1999, and she was a second-team All-SEC honoree that year.
Kellie Harper is an experienced coach
Harper has 15 years of head coaching experience across three schools. She's experienced highs and lows.
Her stock has perhaps never been higher than it is now after leading Missouri State to its first Sweet 16 appearance since 2001 and fourth in program history. The Lady Bears beat Drake in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament championship to secure an NCAA bid. They earned a No. 11 seed and upset DePaul and Iowa State before losing to Stanford.
Harper started her head coaching career as a 27-year-old at Western Carolina. After five seasons there, she moved on to North Carolina State, where she was fired after four seasons.
She was an assistant for Auburn and Chattanooga before becoming a head coach.
Her all-time record is 285-207, with five NCAA Tournament appearances.
It's a family act
Harper married her husband, Jon, in 1999. Jon Harper has been an assistant on his wife's staff during each of her head coaching stints, and he also coached with her at Chattanooga. He's an Auburn graduate.
Replacing Kay Yow
Harper replaced legendary coach Kay Yow at North Carolina State. Yow died from breast cancer in January 2009 after being diagnosed in 1987.
Stephanie Glance served as interim coach for the second half of the 2008-09 season and for part of the 2006-07 season, but N.C. State opted for an outside hire to replace Yow.
The Wolfpack hired Harper in April 2009. She won 20 games and made the NCAA Tournament in her first season there, but that was the high point.
Yow left big shoes to fill. She won 680 games during her 34-year N.C. State career. She finished her career with 737 victories, having previously coached at Elon.
Harper is under contract through the 2021-22 season and earns an annual salary of $246,640. She is due a $100,000 retention bonus if she remains Missouri State's coach on April 14. Jon Harper's salary is $85,829.
By comparison, Warlick's salary at Tennessee was $690,000.
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