Kellie Harper

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Kellie Jolly Harper
Kellie Harper.jpg
Current position
TitleHead coach
Record0–0 (–)
Biographical details
Born (1977-05-03) May 3, 1977 (age 42)
Sparta, Tennessee
Alma materUniversity of Tennessee
Playing career
Position(s)Point guard
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
2000–2001Auburn (asst.)
2001–2004Chattanooga (asst.)
2004–2009Western Carolina
2009–2013NC State
2013–2019Missouri State
Head coaching record
Overall285–208 (.578)
Accomplishments and honors
As coach:
As player:

Kellie Jolly Harper (born May 3, 1977)[1] is an American basketball coach who is currently the head women's basketball coach of the Tennessee Lady Vols. Prior to coaching at Tennessee, she served as head coach of Missouri State, NC State, and Western Carolina.

Playing career[edit]

Born Kellie Jean Jolly in Sparta, Tennessee, she is a graduate of White County High School in Sparta, Tennessee, where she earned many honors as a high school basketball player and ranked third academically in her graduating class.[2]

In college, she was one of the starting point guards for the Tennessee Lady Volunteers during their three consecutive NCAA women's national championships from 1996 to 1998. In 1997, Harper was named to the Final Four All Tournament team.[3]

Coaching career[edit]

On January 28, 2008, Kellie earned her 66th win, passing Beth Dunkenberger as the second winningest women's basketball coach in Western Carolina history with a 60–49 victory over College of Charleston at the Ramsey Center.

NC State athletic director Debbie Yow fired Harper on March 26, 2013, after Harper compiled an overall four-year record for the Wolfpack of 70–64 but only 23–39 within the Atlantic Coast Conference.

On April 10, 2013, Harper was named head coach of the Missouri State Lady Bears. Missouri State is a member of the Missouri Valley Conference. Beginning with the 2014–15 season Harper has led the Lady Bears to 5 consecutive top-3 finishes in the Missouri Valley Conference as well as 5 consecutive post-season trips, including berths to the NCAA Tournament in 2016 and 2019.

The 2018–19 season proved to be a career year for Harper. The Lady Bears finished the regular season 20-9 (16-2 MVC), after starting the season 1-7. Harper was voted the Missouri Valley Conference Coach of the Year for her efforts. She became the first Missouri State coach to win the award since Cheryl Burnett in 1994.[4] After defeating 1-seeded and nationally ranked #24 Drake Bulldogs in the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament Finals, Harper's team received an 11-seed in the Chicago Region. Harper guided the Lady Bears to the Sweet Sixteen with upset wins over 6-seed DePaul and 3-seed Iowa State Cyclones, in games in Ames, Iowa. The Lady Bears fell to 2-seed Stanford in the Sweet Sixteen. Harper was named the Kay Yow Coach of the Year award winner for 2019.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Harper married Jon Harper in 1999. He served on her coaching staff at Western Carolina, North Carolina State, Missouri State, and Tennessee. She has two children, Jackson and Kylie.

Coaching record[edit]

Season Team Overall Conference Standing Postseason
Western Carolina (Southern Conference) (2004–2009)
2004–05 Western Carolina 18–14 10–10 T-5th NCAA First Round
2005–06 Western Carolina 9–20 8–10 5th
2006–07 Western Carolina 24–10 15–3 1st WNIT Second Round
2007–08 Western Carolina 25–9 15–3 2nd WNIT First Round
2008–09 Western Carolina 21–12 14–6 T-3rd NCAA First Round
Western Carolina: 97–65 (.599) 62–32 (.660)
NC State (Atlantic Coast Conference) (2009–2012)
2009–10 NC State 20–14 7–7 T-5th NCAA First Round
2010–11 NC State 14–17 4–10 10th
2011–12 NC State 19–16 5–11 9th WNIT Second Round
2012–13 NC State 17–17 7–11 7th WNIT Second Round
NC State: 70–64 (.522) 23–39 (.442)
Missouri State (Missouri Valley Conference) (2013–2019)
2013–14 Missouri State 14–17 8–10 T-6th
2014–15 Missouri State 18–15 13–5 3rd WNIT First Round
2015–16 Missouri State 24–10 14–4 T-2nd NCAA First Round
2016–17 Missouri State 16–15 12–6 3rd WNIT First Round
2017–18 Missouri State 21–12 15–3 2nd WNIT Second Round
2018–19 Missouri State 25–10 16–2 2nd NCAA Sweet Sixteen
Missouri State: 118–79 (.599) 78–30 (.722)
Tennessee (Southeastern Conference) (2019–present)
2019–20 Tennessee 0–0 0–0
Tennessee: 0–0 (–) 0–0 (–)
Total: 285–208 (.578)

      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


  1. ^ "Women's Basketball Coaches Career". NCAA. Retrieved September 23, 2015.
  2. ^ Kellie Harper Bio on, accessed January 12, 2011
  3. ^ Nixon, Rick. "Official 2012 NCAA Women's Final Four Records Book" (PDF). NCAA. Retrieved April 22, 2012.
  4. ^ "Harper Named MVC Coach of the Year". Missouri State. Retrieved April 8, 2019.
  5. ^ "The Kay Yow National Coach of the Year Award   |   College Basketball Awards   |". Retrieved April 9, 2019.

External links[edit]