Kellie Harper Biography
Kellie Harper (full name: Kellie Jolly Harper) is an American basketball coach who serves as the head coach of the Tennessee Lady Vols. She formerly served as head coach of Missouri State, NC State, and Western Carolina.
Harper attended White County High School in Sparta, Tennessee. There, she earned many honors as a high school basketball player and ranked third academically in her graduating class. She earned a B.S. (Math) from the University of Tennessee in 1999.
Harper owns a 15-year head coaching record of 285-208, including five NCAA Tournament appearances and seven WNIT berths in that span. She has made 20 postseason appearances with a combined 533-261 record, 13 NCAA Tournament appearances and seven WNIT bids in 24 seasons as a Division I head coach, assistant coach or player.
She is one of only 11 women’s hoops skippers to lead three different schools to the NCAA Tournament. Harper has directed her teams to 12 postseason berths in her 15-year head coaching career. She guided Missouri State to NCAA appearances in 2015-16 and 2018-19 with WNIT berths on three other occasions.
She also led North Carolina State to the NCAA Tournament in 2009-10 (plus two WNIT appearances). Harper guided Western Carolina to NCAA berths in 2004-05 and 2008-09 (plus two trips to the WNIT).
Kellie Harper Age
Kellie Jean Jolly was born on May 3, 1977, in Sparta, Tennessee, United States. She is 42 years old as of 2019.
Kellie Harper Parents | Kellie Harper Siblings
Harper was born to Kenneth Jolly who was also a basketball coach. Her brother Brent and her late father White County and Tennessee Tech legend Kenneth, all are honored on the gym wall as members of the White County High School Hall of Fame.
Harper also has another brother Ross who was a hardwood star as well. Both brothers Brent and Ross went into coaching. Harper played for her father at White County High School in Sparta, Tenn.
Kellie Harper Husband
She married Jon Harper, an assistant coach on her staff at Western Carolina, NC State, Missouri State and now Tennessee in 1999.
Kellie Harper Children
Kellie and Jon welcomed their first child, a son Jackson in November 2013 and a daughter Kiley in June 2018.
Where Did Kellie Harper Play Basketball?
Harper played basketball at the University of Tennessee as a point guard from 1995 to 1999.
Kellie Harper Basketball
She scored 894 points and had 452 assists, leaving UT on the school’s career top 10 lists for assists, assist average, 3-point attempts and 3-point percentage for her Tennessee career. Harper still ranks seventh in career assists and is 10th in 3-point percentage (.364, 99-272).
She was drafted by the Cleveland Rockers in the fourth round of the 1999 WNBA draft and earned her degree in mathematics that same year. Harper was a three-time SEC Academic Honor Roll member. She then earned both All-SEC Coaches Second Team and honorable mention All-America honors as a senior. Harper was named to the SEC Community Service Team as a senior.
Kellie Harper Lady Vols
She was part of a women’s basketball dynasty in Tennessee. As a junior, Harper guided the Lady Vols to a 39-0 record and their third-straight national championship. The Lady Vols averaged 7.6 points and 3.8 assists for the season and scoring a career-high 20 points in the national title game against Louisiana Tech.
Harper went 4-of-5 from beyond the arc in that contest and was named to the 1998 All-Final Four Team. He set an NCAA championship game record with 11 assists and dished out 20 helpers in two games for All-Final Four honors in 1997. This is after returning from a knee injury midway through her sophomore season. In 1997, the National Strength and Conditioning Association named her its Strength and Conditioning Female Student-Athlete of the Year.
Kellie Harper Basketball Coach
Kellie spent two seasons at Auburn, the first as an administrative assistant before being promoted to assistant coach under Joe Ciampi for the 2000-01 campaign. She spent three seasons as an assistant coach at Chattanooga. She helped the Mocs to three consecutive Southern Conference championships, three NCAA appearances and also a combined 78-15 record under head coach Wes Moore.
Harper tutored four all-conference guards while at Chattanooga, including the 2004 league player of the year. Harper earned 2007 SoCon Coach of the Year accolades. She placed her squads in the WBCA Academic Top 25 on three occasions, including a fifth-place finish in 2007-08.
Kellie piloted Western Carolina to a 97-65 record and four postseason berths in five seasons, including a 70-31 mark her final three years in Cullowhee. She became just the third women’s basketball coach in North Carolina state history in 2009. She also directed the Wolfpack to three postseason appearances and a 70-64 record during her four-year stint at the helm, including the 2010 NCAA Tournament.
North Carolina State joined Tobacco Road rivals Duke and North Carolina as the only Atlantic Coast Conference teams to score wins over the league’s other 11 teams during that span and earned six top-25 victories in four seasons.
She took Missouri State back to the NCAA Tournament after a decade of absence in 2015-16. She guided her third MSU squad to an MVC Tournament title and a 24-10 overall record. Harper’s program also defeated SEC programs Missouri (twice), Arkansas and Ole Miss during her time at MSU.
Harper took the reins at Tennessee after six years of leading the Missouri State Lady Bears. It was capped by the 2018-19 season’s impressive march to the Missouri Valley Conference Tournament title and magical run to the NCAA Sweet 16.
She was announced by UT Director of Athletics Phillip Fulmer as the new head coach of the Lady Volunteers on April 9, 2019.
Kellie Harper Salary | Kellie Harper Tennessee Salary
In April 2019, Harper signed to a five-year contract with the Tennessee Lady Vols. She will earn $750,000 annually. She will receive an annual base pay of $275,000 along with supplemental compensation of $475,000. There are no raises in place during the five-year deal.
She will owe the university $1 million if she leaves for another position. Her buyout for leaving decreases to $500,000 on April 15, 2021, and alters to the remaining salary she’s due starting April 15, 2023.
Her contract details are included in a Memorandum of Understanding obtained via public records request by The News-Sentinel on Wednesday, 10 April 2019.
Kellie Harper Record
|1998-99||Tennessee||Player||31-3||NCAA Elite Eight|
|1999-00||Auburn||Administrative Assistant||22-9||NCAA Second Round|
|2001-02||Chattanooga||Assistant Coach||23-7||NCAA First Round|
|2002-03||Chattanooga||Assistant Coach||26-5||NCAA First Round|
|2003-04||Chattanooga||Assistant Coach||29-3||NCAA Second Round|
|2004-05||Western Carolina||Head Coach||18-14||NCAA First Round|
|2005-06||Western Carolina||Head Coach||9-20||–|
|2006-07||Western Carolina||Head Coach||24-10||WNIT Second Round|
|2007-08||Western Carolina||Head Coach||25-9||WNIT First Round|
|2008-09||Western Carolina||Head Coach||21-12||NCAA First Round|
|2009-10||North Carolina State||Head Coach||20-14||NCAA First Round|
|2010-11||North Carolina State||Head Coach||14-17||–|
|2011-12||North Carolina State||Head Coach||19-16||WNIT Second Round|
|2012-13||North Carolina State||Head Coach||17-17||WNIT Second Round|
|2013-14||Missouri State||Head Coach||14-17||–|
|2014-15||Missouri State||Head Coach||18-15||WNIT First Round|
|2015-16||Missouri State||Head Coach||24-10||NCAA First Round|
|2016-17||Missouri State||Head Coach||16-15||WNIT First Round|
|2017-18||Missouri State||Head Coach||21-12||WNIT Second Round|
|2018-19||Missouri State||Head Coach||25-10||NCAA Sweet 16|