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Published on April 09, 2024
Kim Caldwell Takes Charge of Lady Vols, Pledges Dedication to Legendary Pat Summitt’s LegacySource: Google Street View

Tennessee has hired Kim Caldwell as the new head honcho for the Lady Vols, stepping in with confidence but keeping the humility dial turned high. Caldwell told Knoxville News Sentinel, "I know what this job means, and I am honored to be here" Seems like Caldwell's got her game face on as she replaces Kellie Harper, who, until getting the boot on April 1, posted a 108-52 record and made a couple of appearances in the Sweet 16.

With a career 217-31 record, Caldwell is no stranger to winning. She's the latest to take a shot at greatness after Harper, with the team faltering in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. In a statement obtained by Knoxville News Sentinel, Caldwell said, "I will never be Pat Summitt – nobody can. But I will strive every day to be somebody that she would be proud of." Now, that's a tall order given Summitt's eight national titles and 1,098 career wins, but Caldwell has never shied away from a challenge.

Interestingly, the University carried out a nationwide search, vetting every potential coach you could toss a basketball at. Athletic director Danny White said they spoke to "basically anybody you could think of," as per Knoxville News Sentinel. He also stressed the impatience for success, mentioning, "We want to get back to competing for Southeastern Conference and national championships." Caldwell's response? She's in it to win it. Her coaching tenure back at Marshall, where she led the Herd to the Sun Belt Conference regular season and tournament titles, speaks for itself.

During Caldwell's introductory press bows, which were attended by the Lady Vols squad, she rolled out her vision for the team. Caldwell told WATE, "We want to be the hardest-playing team in the country." Not a bad game plan since Caldwell has already proven her mettle, winning an NCAA Division II National Championship in 2022 with Glenville State and garnering the Pat Summitt Trophy as the WBCA NCAA Division II National Coach of the Year. The new Lady Vols coach is now on the court, folks, and she's playing for keeps.

Kim Caldwell's taking the reins with a commitment to keeping the Lady Vols at their lofty heights. Caldwell, honored to take over the program, will earn a base salary of $750,000 a year with a contract through March 31, 2029, according to AOL. As she picked up the Pat Summitt Trophy three seasons back, she reflected on the responsibility and opportunity it is to build upon the legacy left by Summitt. Caldwell's all set to lead the Lady Vols into the next chapter, gunning for the kind of success that Tennessee basketball fans have come to expect.