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Holly Warlick Fired by Tennessee

Holly Warlick Tennessee Lady Vols
Saul Young/Knoxville News Sentinel via USA TODAY NETWORK

If you could call it an “era,” it officially ended Wednesday. The University of Tennessee fired women’s basketball coach Holly Warlick after another disappointing season for the Lady Volunteers.

Athletic director Phil Fulmer, himself no stranger to the Tennessee ejector seat, made the announcement in a press release.

“Holly and I met this afternoon, and I informed her of the decision to change leadership within the program,” Fulmer said. “Holly has dedicated most of her adult life to the University of Tennessee and the Lady Vols program. She loves Tennessee, and Tennessee needs to always love her back. She was front and center as this program developed into the model for women’s intercollegiate excellence. While it certainly stings to make this decision, I am charged with doing what I believe is best for this storied program. It’s important to all of us that Lady Vols basketball maintains its status among the elite.”

Tennessee finished the season an abysmal 19-13, the first year since the 1975-76 season where the Lady Vols didn’t reach at least 20 wins. That 1975 season was legendary head coach Pat Summitt’s second season at the helm.  Warlick is just the second head coach of the Lady Volunteers in the NCAA era.

Warlick was the hand-picked successor to Summitt when the Hall of Fame coach stepped down due to Alzheimer’s in 2012. Summitt died on June 28, 2016.

Warlick’s tenure at Tennessee ends with a 172-67 record, a 10-7 Southeastern Conference Tournament mark and a 13-7 NCAA tournament record. She led Tennessee to two regular season SEC championships and just one SEC Tournament championship. The Lady Volunteers haven’t reached the NCAA Sweet 16 for three consecutive seasons. This year’s opening round loss, an 89-77 drubbing at the hands of UCLA, was just the second time in school history the team was knocked out of the NCAA tournament’s opening round.

Tennessee was the standard-bearer for NCAA Women’s basketball for nearly five decades. Early rumors have Fulmer targeting Jeff Walz of Louisville as Warlick’s replacement.

Written by Adam Greene

Adam Greene is a writer and photographer based out of East Tennessee. His work has appeared on, in USA Today, the Associated Press, the Chicago Cubs Vineline Magazine, and many other publications.


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