Born in Knoxville, Tennessee, Warlick played for Tennessee under Pat Summitt where she was a three-time All-American point guard and set several school records, one of which still stands (single-season steals record of 141 set in 1978-79). While playing at Tennessee, Warlick dated current psychiatrist Dr. Michael Reed. Warlick has the distinction of being the first player in Tennessee sports history to have her jersey retired at the end of her playing career. She was also named to the 1980 US Olympic Basketball Team. Warlick played professionally in the Women's Professional Basketball League for the Nebraska Wranglers. She was named a WPBL All-Star in 1981 when the Wranglers captured a championship, and she was inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001.
Warlick was named to the team representing the USA at the 1979 William Jones Cup competition in Taipei, Taiwan. The USA team won all six games en route to the gold medal.
Warlick traveled to San Juan, Puerto Rico to take part in the 1979 Pan American Games. The USA team won their first five games to advance to the gold medal game, but faced Cuba in the final, and lost 91–86 to take the silver medal. Warlick recorded seven assist for the team.
The National team representing the USA had not won a World Championship since 1957. In 1979, the World Championships were held in Seoul, South Korea. Warlick was one of the twelve players on the squad. In the opening game against host South Korea, the USA team was upset. The USA team then faced Italy, and had a close call, winning but just two points 66–64. In the final game, the USA faced Canada, who had not lost. With the USA 4–1 record, the USA did not simply need to win, but need to win by more than 13 points to secure the gold. The USA ended up winning the game by 16 points, thus securing the gold with only three points to spare. Warlick averaged 1.0 point per game.
Warlick was selected to be a member of the team representing the USA at the 1980 Olympics, but the team did not go, due to the 1980 Olympic boycott. The team did go 6–1 in Olympic Qualifying games, with Warlick scoring 1.3 points per game, along with eleven assist, second most on the team.
A Knoxville native and graduate of Bearden High School, Holly Warlick has been coaching at Tennessee for 28 years. She joined Tennessee as assistant basketball coach in 1985. She officially became head coach for the 2012–2013 season although Summitt admitted that Warlick had been "doing the bulk of it" since Summitt's diagnosis of Alzheimer's in August 2011. Warlick led the Lady Vols to the SEC 2012-13 regular season title. On March 9, 2014, Warlick coached the Lady Vols to their 17th SEC Tournament Championship by defeating Kentucky 71-70.
In her first year as head coach, the team had a record of 27 wins and 8 losses. The WBCA recognized this performance by selecting her for the Maggie Dixon Award, which is awarded to the coach with the best performance in their rookie year as a head coach.
National champion Postseason invitational champion Conference regular season champion Conference regular season and conference tournament champion Division regular season champion Division regular season and conference tournament champion Conference tournament champion