NC State dismisses Kellie Harper as women's basketball coach

CorrespondentMarch 26, 2013 

A .500 record was not good enough to get Kellie Harper a fifth season as women’s basketball coach at N.C. State.

Athletic director Debbie Yow announced on Tuesday that Harper, who took the Wolfpack to a 17-17 record and the second round of the WNIT this season, would not be back for the 2013-14 season.

N.C. State’s season ended on the road on Sunday, falling 72-66 at James Madison.

“We thank Kellie for her service to our women’s basketball program,” Yow said in a prepared statement. “We wish her the best in her future endeavors.”

Harper, 35, whose husband, Jon, was her top assistant with the Wolfpack, was not available for comment.

Yow named assistant coach Ken Griffin to lead the program until Harper’s successor is identified.

Since Yow became athletics director in 2010 she has made numerous changes in athletics department personnel. She replaced men’s basketball coach Sidney Lowe – who resigned – two seasons ago with Mark Gottfried, then fired football coach Tom O’Brien in November and replaced him with Dave Doeren.

Yow’s other hires have included men’s soccer coach Kelly Findley, men’s and women’s swimming coach Braden Holloway, wrestling coach Pat Popolizio and softball coach Shawn Rychcik. She also hired Bob Alejo as the director of the strength and conditioning programs.

“We will begin a national search immediately,” said senior associate athletics director and women’s basketball supervisor Michael Lipitz. “But (we) have no specific timeline for completion.”

Harper was 70-64 in her four seasons, including a 23-39 mark in ACC play.

Her high-water mark was in her first season, when the Wolfpack played in the ACC tournament final and made its only NCAA appearance of her tenure.

Under Harper, the Wolfpack had two wins over archrival North Carolina and one over Duke, the latter a 75-73 shocker in the first round of the ACC tournament last season.

Harper, who was a point guard for three NCAA championship teams at Tennessee from 1996-98, took over the program in 2009 after five seasons as head coach at Western Carolina.

She was 97-65 with the Catamounts, winning two Southern Conference titles and getting two automatic NCAA bids.

Harper succeeded the late Kay Yow, Debbie Yow’s older sister for whom the Reynolds Coliseum court is named.

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