Vols name Kim Caldwell WBB head coach

Vols name Kim Caldwell WBB head coach


Tennessee athletic director Danny White has moved quickly and gone outside the historic Lady Vols’ program in hiring Marshall coach Kim Caldwell as only its fourth head coach in the NCAA era.

White announced the hiring Sunday, within a couple of hours of the women’s national championship game. It’s a game the Lady Vols have not played in since 2008 when they won their eighth and last national title under Pat Summitt.

Caldwell will be introduced at a news conference Tuesday, wrapping up a search that started April 1 when White fired Kellie Harper after five seasons at her alma mater and a 108-52 record. She replaced Holly Warlick, promoted to replace Summitt and fired after going 172-67 in seven seasons.

“From the beginning, our goal has been to find a dynamic head coach who can restore our women’s basketball program to national prominence,” White said in a statement. “Kim Caldwell is the ideal person to lead us.”

Tennessee will pay Caldwell $750,000 in base pay a year through March 2029 under the memorandum of understanding signed Sunday morning. The agreement includes a clause for a pay raise before May 1 of any season she wins a national championship.

Caldwell won the 2024 Maggie Dixon NCAA Division I Rookie Coach of the Year award for her work at Marshall, going 26-7 to earn the program’s second NCAA Tournament berth ever and first since 1997. She is 217-31 in eight seasons as a head coach.

She led her alma mater Glenville State to the 2022 Division II national title and has earned seven NCAA Tournament berths. Caldwell won the Pat Summitt Trophy for the 2021-22 season as the WBCA’s NCAA Division II coach of the year.

Caldwell said in a statement she was humbled to accept this job at a historic program.

“I can’t help but reflect on accepting the Pat Summitt Trophy three seasons ago and be moved by the great responsibility and opportunity of now leading and building upon the incredible Lady Vol tradition she built,” Caldwell said.

In her one season at Marshall, Caldwell went 17-1 in winning the Sun Belt Conference regular season and tournament titles.

Marshall ranked in the top five nationally in seven statistical categories. They led the nation in 3-pointers attempted and third in 3s made per game with more than 10 per game. The Herd ranked fourth nationally in averaging 85.3 points a game.

The Herd ranked second in forcing 24.2 turnovers per game while setting a program record for most wins in a season. Marshall hadn’t won at least 20 games since 1990-91.

White said Caldwell has a winning formula with a “high-octane offense and pressure defense” that produces results.

“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,” White said. “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.”

The native of Parkersburg, West Virginia, helped lead Glenville State to the 2011 Division II tournament as a player. She started coaching as an assistant at Ohio Valley University later that year, spent a season back at Glenville State followed by three seasons as an assistant at Sacramento State.

Hired in 2016 as head coach, Caldwell led her alma mater to six Mountain East regular season titles and four conference tournament titles. The four-time Mountain East coach of the year was 191-24, including 132-12 in league play. She went 35-1 and winning the 2022 national title and 33-3 and falling in the national semifinals in 2023.

This hiring caps White’s first high-profile coaching search at Tennessee since bringing football coach Josh Heupel from Central Florida only days after White was hired as AD in 2021.

While AD at Buffalo, White hired Bobby Hurley, now at Arizona State, and Nate Oats, whose Alabama Crimson Tide lost in the national semifinals Saturday, as men’s basketball coaches. White also hired Felisha Legette-Jack to coach Buffalo’s women’s program.

She went 199-115 with four NCAA Tournament berths before being hired to coach her alma mater Syracuse in 2022.

Tennessee athletics press release

April 7, 2024