Harper is New Womens’ Coach – or – Fowler finally lands his Cougar(Catamount)

Sorry…but I didn’t make the moron create this opening with our funny title. (If you are confused, you can click here)

In the one of the world’s worst kept secrets of all time, WRAL is reporting that Western Carolina’s Kellie Harper is likely to be named head coach of the women’s basketball team. Based on SFN’s sources, Ms. Harper will indeed be the hire.

We welcome Ms. Harper to Raleigh and are looking forward to her restoring one of the pioneer programs of women’s college basketball! We are genuinely excited about this hire and apply our meaningless stamp of approval here.

The actual decision/hire by NC State is a great one; but unfortunately the execution of the hire was horrendous.

Why the decision took so long is anybody’s guess. Kay Yow was only been sick for the better part of a decade and passed away months ago. The basketball season finished almost 45 days ago. You will hear the excuse that a nepotism issue needed to be cleared by the slow moving bureaucracy. Whatever. Just remember this when Harper struggles in a couple of years because she basically had no recruiting class this year and potentially next year. (See Sidney Lowe’s late start in 2006 after Lee Fowler botched (a) his responsibilities in the search and (b) the transition to the new coach with our recruiting class who had signed LOIs that year).

About BJD95

1995 NC State graduate, sufferer of Les and MOC during my entire student tenure. An equal-opportunity objective critic and analyst of Wolfpack sports.

Kay Yow NCS Basketball Non-Revenue

62 Responses to Harper is New Womens’ Coach – or – Fowler finally lands his Cougar(Catamount)

  1. tvp1 04/15/2009 at 11:02 AM #

    Um…good job Lee Fowler? Did I just say that?

  2. Daily Update 04/15/2009 at 11:04 AM #

    Seems like it makes a lot of sense. She seems to have a lot of appeal.

  3. CStanley 04/15/2009 at 11:20 AM #

    If Harper was our choice all along, I too question the length of time it took. Only plausible explanation is that we were interviewing someone on UConn’s staff (or another women’s F4 team). If we waited until last week to interview her, then I really question the time. What if somebody else came along and snatched her up? I’ll give old Jed the benefit of the doubt on this one.

    Regardless, I think this is a great hire. Does it exonerate Lee if that turns out to be the case? Absolutely not.

  4. Classof89 04/15/2009 at 11:29 AM #

    This could have been done three or more weeks ago. WCU’s season ended the opening week of the NCAAs. There can be called meetings of the Board of Trustees to deal with issues like her husband being on staff, so I don’t buy that explanation for the delay. There seems to be a serious lack of “go-get-ive-ness” in the Athletics Department, and it seems to go beyond just Fowler. Look at the screwups on the facilities renovation management that ended with the projects being turned over to Wolfpack Club… The sooner we get Bobby Purcell in there the better.

  5. old13 04/15/2009 at 11:32 AM #

    I have no confidence that the administration will in any way give her or any other NCSU coach the support they need to reach their full potential.

  6. Wolfpack_1995 04/15/2009 at 11:35 AM #

    Look who was running the search…There’s your answer!

  7. Dr. BadgerPack 04/15/2009 at 11:35 AM #

    It’s still a pretty good hire. One thing I like about the search, is we didn’t hear much of anything (outside of the late news regarding Glance). There were no public spurnings of the job offer. This search, from a PR standpoint, was handled exponentially better than the men’s search which resulted in Lowe’s hiring.

    It is, however, somewhat disconcerting that it took ‘x’ years for Fowler et al. to learn how to handle a search in a quasi-professional manner.

  8. burnbarn 04/15/2009 at 11:41 AM #

    This is a very solid hire.. check out her profile over at WCU.

    Head Coach Kellie Harper directed her 2008-09 Lady Catamounts to its third straight Southern Conference Tournaments finals, in her fifth year at the helm of the Western Carolina women’s basketball program. The club drew a third-seed and won three consecutive games, enduring a three overtime thriller with No. 4 seed College of Charleston in the Southern Conference Finals, to win the 2009 Southern Conference Tournament, 101-87.

    The 2009 Southern Conference Tournament title was the second in school history and second under Harper. The club also eclipsed 20 wins for the third straight season and has been in postseason play four times, twice in the NCAA Tournament and twice in the WNIT, in Harper’s five years as head coach. The 13 seed in the 2009 NCAA Tournament was the highest in school history as the club faced No. 4 seed Vanderbilt in the Raleigh Region in Albuqurquem N.M.

    Players under Harper have garnered all-conference selections 11 times in her five year tenure at Western Carolina. Jennifer Gardner and Brooke Johnson were also named Southern Conference Tournament Most Outstanding Players thanks to Harper’s direction. Johnson also garnered national attention under Harper’s watch being selected as a candidate for the 2009 Lowe’s Senior Class Award as well as a finalist for the 2009 V Foundation Award.

    Harper also stresses the acdemic side, as her 2007-08 club was ranked fifth in the WBCA Academic Top 25. In 2006-07 the club was ranked 15th.

    In 2007-08, Harper became the second winningest coach in Western Carolina women’s basketball history with a current record of 76-53. She also guided her team to its second consecutive back-to-back 20-win season; a first for Lady Catamount basketball. The club also won a school record 23 games in regular season play, broke the school record with 25 overall and also tied the school record for most Southern Conference wins with 15.

    Harper’s 2007-08 squad also defeated a ranked team for the first time in school history, knocking off No. 21/22 Louisville 77-72 in the Minnesota Subway Classic. Western Carolina also got its first win over ACC foe Clemson, defeating the Tigers in Clemson 62-53. Harper’s 2007-08 squad reached the finals of the SoCon Tournament for the fourth time in five years. WCU fell 71-59 to No. 1 seed Chattanooga.

    Harper has led Western Carolina to postseason appearances in three of her first four years. The club went to its first NCAA Tournament in 2005 and has appeared in the WNIT in 2007 and 2008.

    She directed the club to its first-ever Southern Conference regular season title and No. 1 seed in the SoCon Tournament in the 2006-07 season.

    Though Western Carolina fell 84-66 to Chattanooga in the finals of the 2007 tournament, Harper and the Lady Catamounts enjoyed postseason play by accepting an invitation to play in the WNIT. Western Carolina won its opening round game 91-63 over East Tennessee State before falling at Virginia Tech 74-64.

    Individually, Harper was honored for her continued success at the helm of the Western Carolina women’s basketball team by being named the 2007 Southern Conference Coach of the Year both by her peers and the SoCon Sports Media Association. In July of 2007, Western Carolina’s women’s basketball team was named to the WBCA Academic Honor Roll Team, ranking 15th overall.

    As a head coach, Harper has had seven players earn All-SoCon honors and nine different players garnering all-tournament accolades. All told, Harper has been involved with collegiate women’s basketball for 13 years with an unprecedented nine trips to the NCAA tournament, missing the Big Dance once with Auburn and three times at Western.

    Harper, whose maiden name was Kellie Jolly, is no stranger, and certainly no rookie, to the world of women’s basketball. She was a three-year starting point guard for the University of Tennessee Lady Vols and helped guide UT to an unprecedented three consecutive national championships in 1996, 1997 and 1998. Harper quickly instilled that confidence and enthusiasm in the Lady Mocs program when she joined the Chattanooga staff in the summer of 2001.

    In three seasons as an assistant at Chattanooga, Harper helped the Mocs to three-consecutive SoCon Championships. She worked primarily with the perimeter players, which included the 2004 Player of the Year and tournament MVP Katasha Brown, two-time tournament MVP and All-Conference guard Miranda Warfield, along with two other all-league players. Prior to her stint at Chattanooga, Harper spent two years on the Auburn staff from 1999-2001, quickly moving from administrative assistant the first year to assistant coach in 2000-01.

  9. Noah 04/15/2009 at 11:41 AM #

    Great. Good hire.

    Apparently, we wanted a clean break from the old staff. Can’t say that I blame anyone for that.

    Good luck, Coach Harper.

  10. MatSci94 04/15/2009 at 11:46 AM #

    Would it be too far fetched to “connect the dots” and say that maybe very little had been done on the search until the big rumblings from a couple of weeks ago? That could explain why an interview was as late as last week. It still seems like a long time in announcing, to me, since real printed rumors started showing up about this over the weekend.

    Why was this handled with fewer leaks? Maybe that was part of an ultimatum? Maybe Lee had to work too fast to run his mouth? Also, remember we were at this point with 2 coaches during the mens fiasco.

  11. PackisRolling 04/15/2009 at 11:46 AM #


  12. Alpha Wolf 04/15/2009 at 11:48 AM #

    “Why was this handled with fewer leaks?”

    With lower pressure there are fewer leaks.

  13. Texpack 04/15/2009 at 11:51 AM #

    I really hope this works out. I would have leaned toward honoring Coach Yow’s wishes just because I think it would have been a lot easier on the players, but I can’t argue at all with those who wanted “a clean break form the old staff.” I doubt we’ll ever return to the days when we would be 15 points up on Wake or Duke after five minutes of the first half, but the right coach can make NC State a regular in the top 10-15. Best of luck to Coach Harper and the new staff.

    This took way too long to get done. This hire certainly could have been made after the Sweet 16 weekend of the women’s tournament if not sooner.

  14. Dogbreath 04/15/2009 at 12:01 PM #

    So does the hiring of the Cougar, coupled with dumbass’s comments on the local radio station last year expose the university to a sexual harrassment lawsuit on behalf of Glance?

    Could she cite dipshit’s comments as the basis for being denied a job she was qualified for?

    SFN: Now you are recognizing EXACTLY why we made such a big deal about that situation at the time. What if we had an employee or two on staff at the time who were attracting sexual harassment complaints lodged against them? Talk about problems!!

  15. xphoenix87 04/15/2009 at 12:02 PM #

    I still maintain that the hire should’ve been either a big-name, established coach or Glance, but it seems like that’s a moot point now. I’ll be there watching and supporting the team just like I have been for years, and I wish coach Harper the best. There is some talent on the roster if they can stay healthy, and if they can get star center prospect Jeniece Johnson to recommit, the recruiting class is solid as well. I look forward to seeing what Coach Harper can do with the program.

  16. Dogbreath 04/15/2009 at 12:06 PM #

    Can you just imagine giving a deposition arguing the merits of a cougar in consideration of hiring decisions?

  17. haze 04/15/2009 at 12:13 PM #

    Hard not to like this hire.

    As for the nepotism thing… isn’t WCU also a member of the UNC system? Hard to see how they’d have a work around and we wouldn’t get the same deal for the asking.

    As for the delay, it’s not going to be the difference between greatness and failure. It can only matter if the hire was mediocre in the first place.

  18. old13 04/15/2009 at 12:31 PM #

    As for the delay, itÒ€ℒs not going to be the difference between greatness and failure. It can only matter if the hire was mediocre in the first place.

    Not true. Think of the uncertainity during the entire basketball season concerning the NCSU future coach PLUS the almost three months involved for the actual hiring process that have to greatly impact ONGOING recruiting among other things. It’s just another confirmation, along with the handling of student tickets and admission for football games, and the great moves to kill tailgating at football games, that the NCSU administration can’t get out of its own way! Heaven forbid that they should study how other schools, who do these things quite successfully, do them! But, then, that’s good-‘ol-boyism for you!

  19. WV Wolf 04/15/2009 at 12:32 PM #

    I find it interesting that Kellie Harper’s name has been at the top of the list in discussions (at least on Pack Pride) for quite a while. The one coach that dominated those discussions ends up being the only name that has gotten a publicized interview (outside of Glance).

    So either somebody in the athletic department got the idea to interview Harper from the message boards or maybe the lunatic fringe aren’t quite so crazy.

  20. choppack1 04/15/2009 at 12:38 PM #

    There are valid reasons for this delay. Remember, the basketball season ended what – last Sunday?

    What wouldn’t make sense is if she had been the leading candidate since her exit from the tourney in March – unless, of course, the request for the delay was hers.

    When I see a search like this – it’s really unfair to quibble unless you have 1st hand knowledge of some bungling behind the scenes. I know Fowler was possibly involved, so it’s certainly reasonable to assume a certain level of said bungling.

    Still, you have a coach who has experience as the lead dog, some experience in a major conference, and has had successful experience. She’s also young and dynamic and a former good player herself – 3 things which in of of themselves DON’T QUALIFY YOU IN ANY WAY WHATSOEVER for the position, but are a plus when you look at other available candidates.

    The only flaw here was the leak of Glance not getting the job. We can safely assume that this was sour grapes from one of the offended party – or if you want to get conspiritorial an AD’s last show from the hip.

  21. FullMoonRising 04/15/2009 at 12:50 PM #

    I imagine that the delay was due to a lot of things. One being interinstitutional turmoil regarding whether or not to hire glance. Also, there was an article stating that a lot of coaches wouldn’t even interview until Glance was officially out of the picture. Furthermore, it seems that Fowler was interviewing some candidates that were involved in the women’s tourney.

    All in all, this looks like a good, solid hire with a lot of potential upside plus the exciting added benefit of Kellie being a bona-fide hottie (as far as women’s college coaches go).

    Good job Lee Fowler.

    Now I have to go take a shower and wash off the dirty on me from typing that last sentence.

  22. wufpup76 04/15/2009 at 1:11 PM #

    Congrats and welcome to the Wolfpack Coach Harper!

    I hope you will do well here for many years to come.

    “CILF” πŸ™‚ … too funny

  23. Wulfpack 04/15/2009 at 1:43 PM #

    Welcome aboard, coach.

  24. mafpack 04/15/2009 at 1:46 PM #

    Anyone else notice how we’re not talking about Glance at this point, primarily focusing on Harper after the announcement?

    Perhaps that ‘leak’ wasn’t so accidental after all… nah… that would be way to sneaky/well thought out for this crew πŸ™‚ But on the plus side, it did give the die-hard faithful a few weeks to get the initial anger out of their collective system and allowed us to be more receptive to this new excellent hire.

    Just a thought. Welcome to the WolfPack Coach Harper!

    SFN: How would have been talking about Glance? Most people I know are in agreement that she shouldn’t have gotten the job.

  25. WolfmanDave 04/15/2009 at 1:52 PM #

    Is she really a cougar if she’s just 32 or 33?

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