Sparta hosting welcome home event for Kellie Jolly Harper

Posted By | June 4, 2019 11:28 am

KNOXVILLE, TN - Head Coach Kellie Harper of the Tennessee Lady Volunteers portrait in Knoxville, TN. (Photo By Andrew Ferguson/Tennessee Athletics)

U.T. Athletics – The City of Sparta, White County, and the Sparta-White Chamber of Commerce are hosting a “Welcome Home” celebration for local native Kellie Jolly Harper, on June 6, at the White County High School gymnasium.

The University of Tennessee Athletics Department is excited to be 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. Admission is free.

The event will salute the new Lady Vol head basketball coach, who hails from Sparta and is a 1995 graduate of WCHS and a 1999 graduate of UT.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m., and the celebration will run until 7 p.m. There will be BBQ, snow cones, and ice cream vendors on site.

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.

The evening’s program begins at 6:15 p.m. and includes an introduction of Coach Harper, recognition from the mayor, and remarks from Coach 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.

comments » 1

  1. Comment by Jennifer Philippe

    June 5, 2019 at 6:14 pm

    Don’t know if you can Mrs. Harper but it would be an Honor if you can take even 5 minutes of your time to honor a beloved friend with your presence at his funeral/visitation! He was an AVID Lady Vols fan. He even spit out his dentures at a game once because he was so excited and happy. And if I’m not mistaken he jumped up and down and broke his couch also with excitement. I truly understand if you can’t make it. But that would be the greatest honor of his life if you could. May God Bless you each and every day. Go Vols.

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