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Kellie Harper
Kellie Harper

Head Coach

Alma Mater:
Tennessee, 1999


Missouri State Extends Contracts for Lusk, Harper

Administration shows support for basketball staffs with extensions through 2018-19 season


Up-Close TV Special With Kellie Harper Debuts Tonight at 6:30

MSU Lady Bears head coach featured on KRBK 30-minute special


Women's Basketball Postseason Banquet Set for May 5

RSVP deadline is May 1


Lady Bear Town Hall Meeting Set For April 26

MSU fans can learn about new ticket policy, meet staff


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Kellie Harper Postgame Press Conference - Lady Bears vs. Illinois State

Kellie Harper Postgame Press Conference - Lady Bears vs. Illinois State


Kellie Harper Postgame Press Conference - Lady Bears vs. Indiana State

Kellie Harper Postgame Press Conference - Lady Bears vs. Indiana State


Kellie Harper Postgame Press Conference - Lady Bears vs. Bradley

Kellie Harper Postgame Press Conference - Lady Bears vs. Bradley


Kellie Harper Postgame Press Conference - Lady Bears vs. Loyola

Kellie Harper Postgame Press Conference - Lady Bears vs. Loyola


Kellie Harper Postgame Press Conference - Lady Bears vs. Southern Illinois

Kellie Harper Postgame Press Conference - Lady Bears vs. Southern Illinois

One of the nation's most-respected young coaches, Kellie Harper was introduced as Missouri State's seventh women's basketball coach on April 10, 2013.

"I couldn't be happier and more excited about this opportunity. This program has great tradition, fantastic facilities and a solid fan base," said Harper. "It's a fresh start for Lady Bears Basketball. The future is very bright, and we're going to have high expectations to do something really special here."

"We are very excited for Kellie to join the Missouri State family" said Director of Athletics Kyle Moats. "She was a tremendous college basketball player, she comes from a great basketball pedigree, and she is widely regarded as a great tactician. I know our fans, alumni and community will share our enthusiasm and welcome the Harper family to Springfield."

Harper has earned her reputation with a nine-year record of 167-129, including three NCAA Tournament appearances and four WNIT berths in that span. Her teams have historically played their best in the postseason, as she holds a collective 22-13 record in conference tournaments, NCAA Tournaments, and WNIT games. In fact, in 18 seasons as a Division I head coach, assistant coach and player, Harper has made 15 postseason appearances with a combined 415-181 (.696) record, 11 NCAA Tournament appearances and four WNIT bids.

A Division I representative on the WBCA Board of Directors, Harper became just the third coach in North Carolina State history in 2009 and directed the Wolfpack to three postseason appearances during her four-year stint at the helm, including the 2010 NCAA Tournament. NC 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.

Prior to her stint in Raleigh, Harper piloted Western Carolina to a 97-65 record and four postseason berths in five seasons, including a 70-31 mark her final three seasons in Cullowhee. The Catamounts captured the first two Southern Conference (SoCon) Tournament titles in school history while seven student-athletes captured all-conference honors during her tenure.

She earned 2007 SoCon Coach of the Year honors and placed her squads in the WBCA Academic Top 25 on three occasions, including a fifth-place finish in 2007-08.

Before her first head coaching job, Harper spent the three seasons as an assistant coach at Chattanooga, helping the Mocs to three consecutive Southern Conference championships, three NCAA appearances and a combined 78-15 record under head coach Wes Moore. She tutored four all-conference guards while at Chattanooga, including the 2004 league player of the year. Prior to her time in Chattanooga, Harper 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 was part of the Auburn staff that squared off with the Lady Bears in the first round of the 2000 NCAA Tournament in State College, Pa.

The former Kellie Jolly played on three national championship clubs at Tennessee for the legendary Pat Summitt and earned honorable mention all-America honors as a senior in 1999.

As a junior, she guided the Lady Vols to a 39-0 record and national championship, averaging 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. She went 4-of-5 from beyond the arc in that contest and was named to the 1998 All-Final Four Team.

"As a player at the University of Tennessee, Kellie showed great leadership, poise and dedication," said Summitt. "She knows the game of basketball. She is an excellent teacher, and her passion for the game is infectious. She will bring all this to Missouri State. I wish Kellie and the staff she assembles all the very best as they take responsibility for the Missouri State Lady Bears basketball program."

Harper set an NCAA championship game record with 11 assists and dished out 20 helpers in two games for All-Final Four honors in 1997 after returning from injury midway through her sophomore season. That year, the National Strength and Conditioning Association named her its Strength and Conditioning Female Student-Athlete of the Year.

For her Tennessee career, Harper scored 894 points and had 450 assists, leaving UT on the school's career top 10 lists for assists, assist average, 3-point attempts and 3-point percentage. 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. She was a three-time Academic All-SEC recipient as well.

She played for her father at White County High School in Sparta, Tenn., and was a five-time All-American during her AAU playing career. She was inducted into the Lady Vols Hall of Fame in 2009 and White County High Hall of Fame in 2012.

"I am very excited Kellie Harper has joined the Lady Bears family," said Missouri State President Clifton M. Smart III. "She has shown she is an outstanding coach and recruiter who also wants to be deeply involved in our community. I am expecting great things from this program in the years ahead as we work to reclaim our rightful position in the Missouri Valley Conference."

"My first priorities are the team, the staff and our recruits," said Harper. "We'll get started on those things right away. I met our players this morning, and we'll get the chance to work out tomorrow for the first time. I'll start contacting our signees today and then start working toward getting our coaching staff in place."

Harper, 36, is married to Jon Harper, who has served on her coaching staff at Western Carolina, NC State, and now at Missouri State. The couple's first child, Jackson Kenneth, was born Nov. 25, 2013.

18 seasons415-18111 NCAAs, 4 WNITs

Harper's Year-by-Year Record
Year School Position Record Postseason
1995-96 Tennessee Player 32-4 NCAA Champion
1996-97 Tennessee Player 29-10 NCAA Champion
1997-98 Tennessee Player 39-0 NCAA Champion
1998-99 Tennessee Player 31-3 NCAA Elite Eight
1999-00 Auburn Administrative Assistant 22-9 NCAA Second Round
2000-01 Auburn Assistant Coach 17-12 -
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

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