City and county officials encourage everyone to attend Kellie Jolly Harper Welcome Home event June 6

By | June 3, 2019 9:33 am

L-R: Jeff Young, City of Sparta mayor, and Denny Wayne Robinson, White County executive, put the finishing touches on the Kellie Jolly Harper Welcome Home event, which will be June 6, at White County High School gymnasium. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., and the celebration will run until 7 p.m. Admission is free.

Denny Wayne Robinson, White County executive, and Jeff Young, City of Sparta mayor, are shown putting the finishing touches on Kellie Jolly Harper Day – Welcome Home event, which will be June 6, at White County High School gymnasium.  Doors open at 5:30 p.m., and the celebration will run until 7 p.m. Admission is free.

The county and city have been working together to honor the Sparta native who was recently name the new Lady Vols head basketball coach.

“This is a major achievement for one of Sparta’s own,” said Mayor Young.

“..and a credit to White County School’s athletic program,” added County Executive Robinson.

Jolly-Harper is a 1995 graduate of WCHS and a 1999 graduate of the University of Tennessee.

The mayor and county executive invite everyone to join in on honoring Jolly-Harper’s achievements.

The University of Tennessee Athletics Department will also be a part of the festivities and will add a Big Orange element to the evening by making it one of its stops on the Summer of Smokey tour.

At 5:30 p.m., fan activities will begin, featuring jersey try-ons, a prize wheel, drawings, and appearances by Smokey and the UT spirit team.  The Vol Shop will be on hand with merchandise, there will be UT Athletics posters and season ticket information available, and fans can take selfies with stand-up cut-outs. Smokey and the UT Spirit Team will be there.

The evening’s program begins at 6:15 p.m. and includes an introduction of Jolly-Harper, recognition from the mayor, and remarks from Jolly-Harper via a question-and-answer session. The program is slated to conclude at 7 p.m.

Harper was a five-time AAU All-American in high school and went on to play point guard for the legendary Pat Summitt at UT from 1995-99, appearing in 132 games and helping the Lady Vols win NCAA National Championships in 1996, 1997, and 1998. She was part of a senior class that helped the Big Orange forge a 131-17 overall record as well as win two SEC regular season titles (1998, 1999) and three SEC Tournament crowns (1996, 1998, 1999).

On April 9, Harper became only the third Lady Vol head coach in the NCAA era of women’s basketball. She took the reins at Tennessee after six years of leading the Missouri State Lady Bears, capped by an impressive march to the 2019 Missouri Valley Conference Tournament title and magical run to the NCAA Sweet 16.

Marvin Bullock, Sparta-White County Chamber of Commerce president, encourages everyone to join in this celebration.

“There will be plenty to do for your children, too,” said Bullock.

There will be BBQ, snow cones, and ice cream vendors on site.

The event takes place at the White County High School Gymnasium, 5:30-7 p.m., Thursday, June 6. Come greet, meet, and honor a White County basketball legend.

The City of Sparta, White County, and Sparta-White Chamber of Commerce are the official hosts of the event.

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