Holly Warlick may be on the verge of extending her already lengthy tenure on Rocky Top.
The Tennessee athletic department is “working on an extension” for the Lady Vols basketball coach, according to a report from WNML’s Jimmy Hyams. He reports an agreement could be reached by the end of the week, with a likely outcome of a two- or three-year extension to her contract that is set to run out at the end of next basketball season.
Financial details of the proposed extension have not been revealed to this point.
While Warlick boasts a 153-54 record as the Lady Vols coach since taking over in 2012, there are vocal detractors within the Tennessee fan base that are disappointed with her lack of a Final Four appearance with what was once the nation’s premier women’s basketball program. Her teams have bowed out of the NCAA Tournament in the second round in each of the last two seasons after reaching the Elite Eight in three of her first four years at the helm of the program.
Warlick faced the near-impossible task of replacing a legend at Tennessee in the late Pat Summitt, who passed away in June 2016 after a career that resulted in eight national titles, 18 Final Four appearances, the creation of the Lady Vols brand and the well-earned reputation of being a pioneer in the development of the women’s basketball game nationwide.
In spite of some fans’ negative outlook on Warlick and her lack of an extended NCAA Tournament run in recent season, SEC Country’s Mike Griffith reported that Vols athletic director Phillip Fulmer holds the job she has done with the program in high regard.
“When you follow a legend like Pat Summitt, that’s a very difficult thing,” said Fulmer, who was working on his College Football Hall of Fame career at Tennessee at the same time Summitt was leading the women’s basketball program to unprecedented heights and national titles.
“I think she has worn it very well.”
Warlick, now 59, has been a fixture with the Lady Vols program for decades. After starring as a player under Summitt from 1976-80, she joined her mentor on the bench as a Lady Vols assistant coach from 1985 until she had to take over for Summitt due to declining health, officially beginning in the 2012-13 season.