Kellie Harper’s contract includes a buyout clause detailing the amount Tennessee must pay the coach if she is terminated.

The Lady Vols basketball team missed out on a third consecutive trip to the NCAA Sweet 16 with a defeat in the second round against NC State, marking the end of a disappointing fifth season for Kellie Harper at Tennessee.

Under Harper’s guidance, Tennessee showed promise in her third and fourth seasons, achieving back-to-back Sweet 16 appearances for the first time since 2015 and 2016. However, the team’s progress stagnated this season, barely reaching the 20-win mark and securing only one ranked victory for the second consecutive year.

As Tennessee approaches a crucial offseason, Harper’s buyout clause, set to take effect on April 1, comes into focus. Here’s an overview of her contract following her third extension in 2023.

Tennessee initially hired Harper in April 2019 under a five-year, $750,000 contract. After posting a combined record of 38-18 in her first two seasons, she earned her first contract extension, adding two years and receiving a $50,000 raise, along with other benefits.

Her second extension came after leading the Lady Vols to their first NCAA Sweet 16 appearance since 2016. This one-year extension came with a $200,000 raise, bringing her annual compensation to $1 million, making her one of the highest-paid women’s basketball coaches in the SEC.

Following another Sweet 16 berth, Harper received her third contract extension, extending her tenure to April 14, 2028, with a $100,000 raise, elevating her annual compensation to $1.1 million.

Regarding her buyout, if terminated before March 31, 2024, Harper would receive 100% of the annual compensation until April 14, 2027. If terminated between April 1, 2024, and March 31, 2028, she would receive 50% of the annual compensation until the end of her contract.

Harper’s tenure at Tennessee has seen highs and lows, with her best season in 2021-22 resulting in the team’s first Sweet 16 appearance since 2016. However, injuries to key players and struggles against ranked opponents have presented challenges, culminating in a disappointing end to the 2023-24 season.

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