Ex-Lady Vol Kellie Harper returns to her alma mater as coach

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Kellie Harper

Missouri State head coach Kellie Harper smiles as he directs her team during the second half of a regional semifinal game against the Stanford in the NCAA women’s college basketball tournament, Saturday, March 30, 2019, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

Kellie Harper is returning to Tennessee with hopes of rejuvenating one of the biggest brand names in women’s college basketball, two decades after playing on three consecutive Lady Vols national championship teams.

Tennessee announced Tuesday it has hired Harper as coach. She will make $750,000 over five years.

Harper, who just coached Missouri State to a surprise Sweet 16 appearance, was known as Kellie Jolly when she played for Tennessee from 1995-99. She helped the Lady Vols win national titles in 1996, 1997 and 1998.

She replaces Holly Warlick, who was fired March 27 after going 172-67 in seven seasons. Warlick was an assistant on Pat Summitt’s Tennessee staff when Harper was playing for the Lady Vols.

Harper led Missouri State to a 25-10 record and a regional semifinal berth as a No. 11 seed this season. She owns a 118-79 record in six seasons at Missouri State.

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