SPARTA, Tenn. (WATE) – The Summer of Smokey Tour rolled through Sparta on Thursday as Kellie Harper returned to her hometown for the first time since being named the Lady Vols Head Coach.
Harper delivered a speech back on her old court at White County High School as the town she grew up in welcomed her home with open arms. She was also presented with a key and learned that the basketball court at the gym being built at Findley Elementary School will be named after her.
“I think the community has been wonderful about embracing me throughout my career, whether I was playing or coaching, regardless of where that was, they kept tabs on me,” harper said. “It’s really neat to see them now. They’ve always loved Tennessee and to be able to do that with me, one of their own, it’s just really special.”
Harper held a brief Q&A at the end of the event where it only took two questions before a fan stood up and shouted if she’d decided on a point guard yet. Harper told the fan she’s got some options, and some time to figure it out.
“Initially it surprised me, and then I remembered, oh yes, Tennessee,” harper said. “Our people are well-educated, they love basketball, understand it. They probably want to know if we’re working on post moves and rebounding. That’s just the fans we’re dealing with.”
Regardless of who starts at point guard, Harper and Lady Vols will have their work cut out for them next season. On top of a tough SEC schedule, the Lady Vols will travel to No. 2 Notre Dame, No. 3 UConn and No. 7 Stanford in Harper’s first year as head coach.