Unbelievably, Kim Caldwell HC women’s basketball recently announced her resignation and departure from the squad….

Tennessee has hired Marshall’s Kim Caldwell as its next women’s basketball coach, the team announced Sunday:

Caldwell, who takes over for Lady Vols legend Kellie Harper, spent her first seven seasons at Division II Glenville State and guided the Pioneers to their first-ever national title in 2021-22. She made the leap to Division I with the Thundering Herd ahead of the 2023-24 campaign.

Marshall went 26-7, winning the Sun Belt regular-season and conference titles before reaching the NCAA tournament for just the second time.

“From the beginning, our goal has been to find a dynamic head coach who can restore our women’s basketball program to national prominence,” Tennessee athletic director Danny White said. Kim Caldwell is the ideal person to lead us. Kim has a winning formula that she has successfully implemented everywhere she has coached, with a fast-paced, high-octane offense and pressure defense that has led to remarkable 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. 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.”

Fans might feel a little underwhelmed with the conclusion to Tennessee’s coaching search because one possible conclusion to draw from Harper’s ouster was that the administration had a much bigger target in mind.

Beyond the goodwill she maintained from her playing career, Harper had a .675 winning percentage with Sweet 16 appearances in 2022 and 2023. It’s not as though she presided over a major decline for the program.

Naturally, it felt fair to wonder whether Tennessee was plotting something akin to LSU’s poaching of Kim Mulkey from Baylor. Duke’s Kara Lawson was a trendy choice given her deep ties to the Lady Vols and early success with the Blue Devils.

Caldwell’s hiring perhaps reflects how the job is viewed outside Knoxville.

The expectations are sky-high from year to year and every coach is compared against one of the greatest ever, Pat Summitt. LSU’s resurgence under Mulkey and South Carolina’s dominance with Dawn Staley at the helm only adds to the difficulty. There are compelling reasons to have reservations about taking the gig.

But this could’ve been the plan all along.

Going outside of the Summitt coaching tree was the right call after Harper and Holly Warlick didn’t work out, and being an inexperienced Division I head coach hasn’t stopped others from thriving in prominent jobs. Notre Dame’s Niele Ivey hadn’t ever been a head coach before succeeding Muffet McGraw. The same is true of Lawson at Duke and Cori Close at UCLA.

Tennessee went down the most straightforward path possible with its last two coaches. Warlick was a longtime assistant of Summitt, while Harper was a decorated player and seemingly a coach on the rise again after taking Missouri State to the Sweet 16 in 2019.

Selecting a coach who has spent only one season in Division I is an obvious risk, but thinking outside the box might be what’s required for the Lady Vols to become a power once again.

Tennessee has hired Marshall’s Kim Caldwell as its next women’s basketball coach, the team announced Sunday:

Unbelievable, HC women’s basketball Kim Caldwell just announce her resignation and departure from team…


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