- Mechelle Voepel covers the WNBA, women's college basketball and other university sports for WNBA. Voepel began covering women's basketball in 1984 and has been with ESPN since 1996.
Former Vols player Kellie Harper will be named the next women's basketball coach in Tennessee to replace Holly Warlick, ESPN sources Chris Low confirmed on Monday.
The news was reported for the first time by Fox News Knoxville.
Harper, currently head coach of Missouri State, drove Lady Bears to the NCAA Sweet 16 this season. Warlick was fired last month by Tennessee after seven seasons.
Harper, a native of Sparta, Tennessee, was Kelly Jolly when she helped lead Lady Vols to the NCAA titles in 1996, & 97; and # 98; 98 as a setter. She finished her career as a Tennessee player in 1999, and began her coaching career in 2000 as an badistant in Auburn and then in Chattanooga. She became head coach at Western Carolina in 2004, and then moved to NC State in 2009 to replace Kay Yow.
Yes, it was time for Tennessee to separate from her. But Holly Warlick took on the burden of following a legend and took it as best she could.
Harper was fired by NC State in 2013, and then went to Missouri State. She has led the Lady Bears to the NCAA tournament twice, including this year's race to the regional semifinals as a No. 11 seed. Missouri State beat No. 6 DePaul and No. 3 Iowa State, the latter on the floor of the house of the Cyclones.
The record for Harper's career as head coach is 285-208; She is 118-79 in six seasons in the state of Missouri.
Harper was on Lady Vols' list as a player when Warlick was an badistant to Pat Summitt. Warlick took over as head coach for the 2012-13 season after Summitt resigned in the spring of 2012 due to the effects of early onset dementia, the type of Alzheimer's. Summitt died in 2016.
Warlick was 172-67 in seven seasons as head coach in Tennessee. This season, the Lady Vols went 19-13 and lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament to UCLA.