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Search For New MSU Lady Bears Head Coach Is Underway

Missouri State University

The search is on for a new Missouri State University head women’s basketball coach after Kellie Harper announced she’s leaving for Tennessee.

Harper has been hired as the head women’s basketball coach at her alma mater, the University of Tennessee, MSU Athletics director, Kyle Moats, confirmed Tuesday.

Moats said they’ve already begun the process of finding a new head coach, and the search will be “national and open to all.  We will look for the right person who fits well with our team, university and community, values academics, and has a proven track record of success."

An advisory committee has been formed, which includes former Lady Bear player, Carly Stubblefield; senior associate Athletics director, Casey Hunt; faculty Athletics representative, Jim Hutter; director of student-athlete development & community engagement, A’dia Jones; and ex-officio member, Rachael Dockery, MSU General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer.

Finalists will be submitted to Moats and President Clif Smart for review, and the MSU Board of Governors will make the final decision.

Moats said details on the search will not be made public until its completion.

Harper posted a six-year coaching record of 118-79 at MSU, advancing to the postseason in each of her last five seasons with NCAA Tournament trips in 2016 and 2019 and WNIT appearances in 2015, 2017 and 2018, according to MSU. She ranks third in Missouri State history in coaching victories, and fifth in Missouri Valley Conference history with a .722 league winning percentage.

This year's Lady Bears team had a 25-10 record, advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 for the fourth time in school history and finished with a No. 24 ranking in the final USA Today Coaches Poll.

Moats said Harper restored “the pride back to Lady Bears basketball.”