Tennessee hires Marshall's Kim Caldwell as women's basketball coach

BLACKSBURG, VIRGINIA - MARCH 22: Head coach Kim Caldwell of the Marshall Thundering Herd consoles Tamia Lawhorne during an NCAA tournament game. (Greg Fiume/NCAA Photos via Getty Images)

Tennessee has found the next coach to lead its women’s basketball program. Kim Caldwell will leave Marshall for Knoxville, as first reported by Talia Goodman.

Caldwell takes over for Kellie Harper, who was fired last week after five seasons coaching the Lady Vols. Caldwell will be formally introduced at a news conference on Tuesday, according to the Knoxville News Sentinel.

In Caldwell’s lone season at Marshall, the Thundering Herd won the Sun Belt’s regular season and tournament championships, going 26–7 overall and 17–1 in conference. That performance earned Marshall an NCAA tournament bid as a No. 13 seed, but the Herd lost in the first round to No. 4 seed Virginia Tech.

Prior to her stint at Marshall, Caldwell coached seven seasons at Division II Glenville State, going 191–24 overall. She led the Pioneers to a 35–1 record and the program’s first national championship in 2022.

Hiring Caldwell represents a change in Tennessee’s philosophy under athletic director Danny White. Previously, the Lady Vols opted for candidates connected to legendary coach Pat Summitt. Harper played for Summitt, winning three national championships. Her predecessor, Holly Warlick, also played for Summitt and was an assistant on her staff for 28 seasons.

That led to speculation that Tennessee would pursue Duke coach Kara Lawson, who played for the Lady Vols from 1999-2003. However, she reportedly never interviewed for the position.

“Kim has a winning formula that she has successfully implemented everywhere she has coached, with a fast-paced, high-octane offense and pressure defense that has led to remarkable results,” White said in the school’s official announcement.

“In this new era of college sports, it was vital that we found an innovative head coach with a strong track record of winning titles. We are eager to return the Lady Vols to a championship level, and we’re confident that Kim Caldwell is the coach who can lead us back to the top.”

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