Tennessee dismisses women's basketball coach Kellie Harper after five seasons

The Lady Vols never advanced past the Sweet 16 under Harper

Tennessee is moving on from women's basketball coach Kellie Harper. The school announced on Monday that Harper had been fired after five seasons in Knoxville.

The decision comes one week after the Lady Vols lost to N.C. State in the second round of the NCAA women's tournament, 79–72. Tennessee had not advanced past the Sweet 16 during Harper's tenure.

This past season, the Lady Vols finished 20–13 (10–6 in the SEC). Under Harper, they had never finished higher than third in the SEC during the regular season. In her five seasons, Tennessee compiled a 108-52 record.

Harper was a part of three national championship teams for legendary coach Pat Summitt during her playing career at Tennessee. She was the starting point guard for the 1997-98 squad that went 39–0.

Tennessee is the winningest program in women's college basketball history, but has been overtaken by UConn, South Carolina, LSU and Baylor in recent seasons. The Lady Vols have not been to the Final Four since Summitt retired after the 2011-12 season. Harper was the second coach to lead the program since Summitt stepped down, following Holly Warlick, who'd also been a Lady Vols point guard under Summitt.

"After a thorough review of our women’s basketball program, I have informed Kellie we are making a change in leadership," said Tennessee athletic director Danny White in a statement. "Decisions like these are never easy to make, especially with someone who has done so much for the Lady Vols as a three-time national champion student-athlete."

Tennessee will begin a nationwide search for a new coach immediately.

Harper was under contract through the 2027-28 season after receiving a third contract extension. Since she was fired without cause, Harper will receive a buyout of $2,222,916. The amount of the buyout reduced by 50% on April 1.