Kellie Harper accepts job at University of Tennessee


KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee announced Tuesday the new head coach for the Lady Vol’s Women’s Basketball team.

Kellie Harper, head coach of the Missouri State Lady Bears, will head back to her alma mater to coach the Lady Vols.

Harper won three national championships as a player under Pat Summit.

The University and Harper have agreed to a five-year contract with annual compensation of $750,000 per year.
“I’m excited to have Kellie as our new women’s basketball coach,” Tennessee Athletics Director Phillip Fulmer said. “She is a Lady Vol through and through. Her love of the game, her care and love for her players, and her loyalty to UT all came through during the interview process. Kellie has proven to be a winner at every stop in her career, taking three programs to the NCAA Tournament. She certainly knows the expectations that come with this job, as she has lived it herself.”

As for Missouri State, the departure of Harper leaves a very big hole to fill. 

She posted a six-year coaching record of 118-79 at MSU with postseason trips in each of her last five seasons.

She ranks third in Missouri State history in coaching victories, and fifth in the Missouri Valley Conference history with a .722 league winning percentage. 

“I’m extremely happy for Kellie, Jon, Jackson and Kiley…as they get the opportunity of a lifetime: to coach at her alma mater and one of the most storied programs in women’s basketball,” said Missouri State Athletics Director Kyle Moats. 

Moats added the search for the next Lady Bears Head Coach has already begun.

The Advisory Committee is made up of Former Lady Bear Carly Stubblefield, Senior Associate Athletics Director Casey Hunt, Faculty Athletics Representative Jim Hutter, Director of Student-Athlete Development A’dja Jones, Ex-officio member Rachael Dockery.

MSU General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer Finalists will be submitted to Moats and President Clif Smart for review, with ultimate approval by the MSU Board of Governors.

While no names have been officially reported as potential candidates, notable coaches with Springfield ties include former Lady Bears Assistant and current Ohio State Assistant Jennifer Sullivan, current Lady Bears Assistant Jackie Stiles, former MSU player and current Loyola Marymount Head Coach Charity Elliot and Drury Lady Panthers Head Coach Molly Miller.

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