As Tennessee formally welcomes back home Kellie Harper as its new Lady Vols basketball coach Wednesday, here are six things to know about her:
1) She won three national titles as a point guard at Tennessee under Lady Vols coaching legend Pat Summitt. When she graduated, Harper ranked in the school’s Top 10 lists in assists, assists per game, 3-point field goals, 3-point field goal attempts and 3-point field goal percentage. She has a degree in mathematics.
2) She is a native of Sparta in White County, Tennessee, and was a star player in high school and AAU play.
3) She has a birthday in a couple of weeks. She was born Kellie Jean Jolly on May 3, 1977.
4) Harper has been the head coach at three previous universities: Western Carolina University (five seasons), N.C. State (four seasons) and Missouri State (six seasons).
She was fired from N.C. State by Athletic Director Debbie Yow after a 23-39 record in ACC play and a 70–64 overall record. She had replaced another legendary basketball coach, Kay Yow, who had died at age 66 of breast cancer in January 2009.
Harper’s career record as a head coach is 285–208.
5) She married Jon Harper in 1999, then an assistant at Western Carolina. He was also an assistant with Kellie Harper at N.C. State and Missouri State. They have two children, Jackson and Kylie.
6) Before becoming a head coach, Harper was an assistant at Chattanooga (three seasons) and Auburn (two seasons).