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Tennessee hires Herd's Caldwell as new women's coach

Apr. 7—By GRANT TRAYLOR

Marshall Associate AD of Communications

HUNTINGTON, W.Va. — Marshall Women's Basketball head coach Kim Caldwell has been hired by Southeastern Conference power Tennessee to take over its women's basketball program.

Caldwell is leaving the Thundering Herd after one season to lead the prestigious Lady Vols program, which has won eight national championships and is one of the most historically recognizable programs in women's college basketball.

"First, we are so proud of Kim and thrilled for her outstanding opportunity at Tennessee," said Christian Spears, Marshall's Director of Athletics.

"We have talked from the very beginning about her future and the places that could sway her away from Marshall. Yes, Pat Summitt Court and Tennessee was on that list."

Caldwell was named the Spalding Maggie Dixon Division I Rookie Coach of the Year on Wednesday after a season in which she led all Division I coaches in their first year with their programs in wins following a 26-7 season with the Herd.

In addition to the Maggie Dixon Award, Caldwell led Marshall to the Sun Belt Conference Championship, going 17-1 in league play before earning the Tournament title with an overtime victory over James Madison that sent Marshall to its first NCAA Tournament berth since 1997.

The 26 wins were the most in a single-season in Marshall Women's Basketball history. Marshall also earned SBC accolades with Caldwell being named as 2023-24 SBC Women's Basketball Coach of the Year and senior guard Abby Beeman earning SBC Player of the Year honors.

"All of Herd Nation extends our heartfelt appreciation to Coach Caldwell for the exciting season of basketball we just experienced as she led our phenomenal women's team to new heights,"

Marshall President Brad D. Smith said. "Kim reminded us of what is possible — building upon last year's strengths and laying a foundation for success. Tennessee has wisely chosen an outstanding coach and a world-class person. We wish Kim much continued success. She will always have a fan base in Huntington."

Caldwell was hired as the 8th head coach in Marshall Women's Basketball history on March 27, 2023, signing a record seven-year deal with the Thundering Herd that came after unprecedented success during her seven seasons at Glenville State, which included the 2021-22 NCAA Division II National Championship.

The Parkersburg, W.Va., native currently has a career record of 217-31, which is a winning percentage of 87.5 percent. That figure includes a mark of 94-11 in the last three seasons.

Success was not just visible on the court, though, as Caldwell's winning culture quickly won over the fans and produced an attendance increase of 132 percent from the previous season. Marshall averaged 2,066 fans during SBC play and each of the final four home games drew crowds of more than 2,500.

"Kim is just special, and we knew others would see that as well," Spears said. "Her impact on Marshall in just one year was substantial. Our community embraced her, and she will be greatly missed. However, the belief system she created in our ability to be successful will remain, and we are confident that we can continue winning championships.

"We have already begun our national search, and we will find another amazing person to lead our Thundering Herd."