Tennessee Selects Caldwell To Lead Storied Lady Vol Basketball Program

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – University of Tennessee Vice Chancellor/Director of Athletics Danny White announced Sunday that Kim Caldwell, the 2024 Spalding Maggie Dixon NCAA Division I Rookie Coach of the Year, has been chosen to lead the Lady Volunteers. She will be introduced Tuesday at a press conference on campus.

“From the beginning, our goal has been to find a dynamic head coach who can restore our women’s basketball program to national prominence. Kim Caldwell is the ideal person to lead us,” said White. “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.”

Caldwell becomes the fourth head coach of the Lady Vols in the NCAA era of women’s basketball, which began with the late, legendary Pat Summitt at the helm. A rising star in the profession, Caldwell has quickly made an elite mark at two different levels of the game, earning eight NCAA berths and winning seven conference trophies in her eight seasons as a head coach. She led NCAA Division II Glenville State and DI Marshall to championship seasons with a high-octane attack on both ends of the floor and now takes the reins of the winningest program in women’s hoops history.

“I am honored and humbled to accept the role as head coach of this historic program at the University of Tennessee,” Caldwell said. “I can’t help but reflect on accepting the Pat Summitt Trophy three seasons ago and be moved by the great responsibility and opportunity of now leading and building upon the incredible Lady Vol tradition she built. I am so excited to get to work and can’t wait to see what we all can accomplish together.”

Caldwell earned the aforementioned national recognition from the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association after guiding Marshall to a 26-7 overall record and 17-1 league mark in her first season there in 2023-24. She also was named Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year after directing the Thundering Herd to both the league’s regular season and tournament titles as well as the school’s second NCAA Tournament berth ever and first since 1997.

Marshall ranked in the top five nationally in seven different statistical categories in Caldwell’s first season with the Herd.  One of the nation’s most prolific scoring offenses, the Herd finished with nine games of 90+ points and five games with over 100 points. Marshall led the nation in three-point field goals attempted and third in three-pointers made per game with over 10 per contest.

After being picked ninth in the Sun Belt Conference preseason poll, Marshall proceeded to generate 85.3 points per game (fourth nationally) and force 24.2 turnovers per contest (second nationally) in notching a program best for wins. Caldwell’s victory total stands as the most by a first-year coach in MU women’s hoops history and marked the first 20-win regular-season campaign by the school since 1990-91.

With a 217-31 (.875) career record in eight seasons as a head coach, including 149-13 (.920) in conference games, Caldwell got her start as a program leader at her alma mater under her maiden name of Kim Stephens. She led Glenville State to the 2021-22 NCAA Division II National Championship in her sixth year at the school and helped the Pioneers make seven NCAA appearances and claim six Mountain East Conference regular season crowns and four tournament titles.

For the 2021-22 season’s accomplishment, she was presented the Pat Summitt Trophy, which goes to the WBCA’s NCAA Division II National Coach of the Year. She also earned the 2022 Furfari Award, which is presented to West Virginia’s College Coach of the Year by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.

In seven seasons with the Pioneers, the 2011 GSU graduate compiled a 191-24 mark, including a 132-12 slate in the MEC. Her final two editions forged a 68-4 combined record, including the 35-1 national championship season (22-0 in league play) in 2021-22 and a 33-3 outcome after advancing to the national semifinals in 2022-23. Her final unit there led NCAA Division II in points per game (91.2) and turnovers forced (27.3).

From 2016-23, she directed Glenville to six MEC regular season titles (2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2022, 2023) and four MEC Tournament trophies (2018, 2019, 2020, 2023), earning MEC Coach of the Year honors four times in 2018, 2019, 2022 and 2023.

Prior to her stint at GSU, she served as an assistant at Sacramento State for three seasons from 2013-16 under Bunky Harkleroad, for the 2012-13 season at Glenville State an assistant to Harkleroad and began her college coaching career at Ohio Valley University, filling a role as an assistant there from 2011-12.

A native of Parkersburg, W.Va., Caldwell helped lead GSU to the 2010-11 West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Championship as a player and earn an NCAA Division II Tournament berth. She was named the WVIAC Student-Athlete of the Year that season and academically made the WVIAC Commissioner’s Honor Roll as a junior and senior.

CAREER ACCOMPLISHMENTS

Record As Head Coach (8 Seasons)

  • 217-31 (.875) overall
  • 149-13 (.920) in conference games

National Coach of the Year (2)

  • 2024 WBCA Spalding Maggie Dixon NCAA Division I Rookie Coach of the Year
  • 2022 WBCA NCAA Division II National Coach of the Year (Pat Summitt Trophy)

Conference Coach of the Year (5)

  • Mountain East Conference: 2018, 2019, 2022, 2023
  • Sun Belt Conference: 2024

NCAA Tournaments (8)

  • NCAA DII: 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022, 2023 
  • NCAA DI: 2024

NCAA National Championships (1)

NCAA Final Fours (2)

  • NCAA DII champions: 2022
  • NCAA DII semifinalist: 2023

Conference Championships (7)

  • Mountain East Conference: 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2022, 2023
  • Sun Belt Conference: 2024

Conference Tournaments Championships (5)

  • Mountain East Conference: 2018, 2019, 2020, 2023
  • Sun Belt Conference: 2024

First appeared on utsports.com

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