Tennessee women's basketball head coach Kellie Harper has agreed in principle to a contract extension through the 2027-28 season, the school announced Monday.
It's the third year in a row that Harper, who just concluded her fourth season at the helm of her alma mater, received a one-year contract extension.
"Including her tenure at Missouri State, Kellie has guided her teams to three of the past four NCAA Sweet 16s," Tennessee athletic director Danny White said in a statement. "She's among an elite group of coaches in achieving that, and it didn't happen by accident. The Lady Vols have a strong program culture, visible player development, a commitment to excellence and intentional leadership in place, and I look forward to watching our program continue to rise under her leadership."
"I couldn't be more thankful for the belief and trust Danny and Tennessee have placed in me and my staff to lead the Lady Vol program where we all want to go," Harper added. "The journey to the top isn't easy, but I'm really proud of the investment our players have displayed in pursuing our goals and fighting through some adversity along the way.
"By playing in the 2023 SEC tournament title game and advancing to regionals, we have built a solid foundation for next season. I can't wait to see what we can achieve together during the years ahead."
Tennessee had an up-and-down 2022-23 campaign. Early in the season, the Lady Vols struggled in nonconference play against some of the nation's top teams while incorporating a host of roster newcomers, going into the holidays unranked in the AP poll and with a 7-6 record. But they solidified their chemistry and gained traction after the new year, upsetting eventual national champion LSU in the SEC tournament semifinals to advance to the event's title game, where they fell to then-unbeaten South Carolina.
Harper's squad ultimately defeated Saint Louis and Toledo in the NCAA tournament -- where they hosted as a top-16 seed -- before falling to Final Four squad Virginia Tech in the Sweet 16, recording their second consecutive appearance in the regional semifinal.
The Lady Vols saw Jordan Horston get drafted No. 9 overall to the Seattle Storm in last week's WNBA draft, the third consecutive first-round WNBA draft pick for Harper (along with Rae Burrell and Rennia Davis).
Heading into 2023-24, Tennessee returns top scorer Rickea Jackson, who opted to come back for her fifth year, as well as Tamari Key, who was sidelined the majority of 2022-23 after blood clots were discovered in her lungs. Harper also brought in transfer Destinee Wells from Belmont in the offseason.