Media day the new coaches

Feb 22, 2016
Pasted from the Lady Vols webpage:


May 04, 2021
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – Tennessee women's basketball head coach Kellie Harper joined her newly-hired assistants Samantha Williams and Joy McCorvey in a Zoom media availability on Tuesday.

Harper talked about the decisions to add Williams and McCorvey to her staff, their impact thus far and what their experiences add to the program. The new aides discussed what led them to Rocky Top, their view of what the Lady Vol program represents, their respect for what Harper is building and just how much of a name Tennessee women's basketball represents to prospective student-athletes.
Lady Vol Head Coach Kellie Harper
Opening Statement:
"I'm really excited today to introduce you to our two new assistant coaches. There's been a lot of buzz around the program, a lot of excitement, and I tell you what, they're both fantastic people, first. They're terrific basketball coaches, very experienced, and they have hit the ground running in the recruiting department, and I'm excited about where we're headed and the game plan that we have. Coach Samantha Williams I've known for many years and really admired her and always kept up with her. I think she's done a terrific job in every spot where she's been. Coach Joy McCorvey, I actually did not know personally, but she's one of those folks that when you're out recruiting and someone walks in, you notice them. And she was that person. She was always on my short list. She didn't know it; I didn't know her, but she was someone I always kept an eye on as well. I've really enjoyed the process of getting to know her, and I think all of our visions align, and we're really excited to move forward chasing national championships here."

On her lengthy relationship with Samantha Williams and convincing her to leave a head coaching position:
"Jon (Harper) and Sam were at Auburn together, so I played against her and actually did not meet her until Jon and I were married. But I think, again, that's been one of his girls. He always loved talking about Sam and what she meant to him, and that relationship just kind of passed over to me as well. Like I said earlier, we've just kind of followed her wherever she went. You know, one of those things… I think a lot of it is timing, so we were very fortunate to be able to extend that (offer) and be able to bring her in. I know it's never easy to leave a team, as an assistant or a head coach, but especially as the head coach. I'm just really excited that she said yes, and we're here now and moving forward."

On her first impressions of Joy McCorvey:
"My first impression was that she came in very professional, but also, you notice her. I think she immediately gave me the impression that she was someone you gravitate to, that I could see players gravitating to. And talking to her on the phone just confirmed that. She has a great personality, and I'm really excited for our current players and our future players to spend time with her and get to know her better. But also, I'm excited for our staff to work with her, because she's a hard worker, very professional, and very intelligent, and I think that's the thing I'm excited about with both our new staff members."

On chasing national championships and the experience Samantha Williams brings from recruiting at the highest level:
"I think her experience (at Louisville), coaching and recruiting for a national championship, she definitely has that experience, and I think that's going to be important for us, because obviously, that's where we want to be. And if we continue to head that way, I think she's really going to provide that – and not just the recruiting area, to be honest with you – but just all across the board. Her experience, I think, is going to be vital to our current team, our staff and our recruiting."

On the team's response to the new staff:
"I think they're excited. They've had just very brief interactions. They had a chance to meet both Coach Sam and Coach Joy very briefly because of the calendar and the way that's falling, but I'm excited. Our players will be back in June, and we'll really get out on the court with them. I think that's when they'll really enjoy those interactions even more, but I'd say our team was really, really excited. And I think just from the little bit we saw, we have some really great relationships that are about to form."

On Samantha Williams' statement that, "Women's basketball is better when Tennessee is better," and the immediate impact she and Joy McCorvey have had on recruiting:
"Well, first, they're hard workers. They hit the ground running. I know people say that, but that's really what happened. And two, I think there was a little bit of a philosophy change, and we addressed some things we need to do better. I think what Sam said about Tennessee, I think that's right. One thing I've said several times is that I think we have a responsibility to women's basketball. The University of Tennessee Lady Vols have a responsibility. And I agree, women's basketball is better when we're better, and we've got to step up. I think we've made great progress. I'm excited about the competitiveness we showed this year, and I'm excited about the future."

On what was said during the interview process to sell them on Tennessee:
"I think just the vision of where we can go and reiterating that the resources here are unlike any other. The University of Tennessee takes care of women's basketball and women's sports. It's a priority, and again, this is the best place to be a college basketball player. It's a great place to be. So, I think they recognize that and understand that, and then there's our shared vision. We want to do it with great people, work hard and really put that ultimate goal out there of getting back to a national championship."

On having not met Joy McCorvey before the interview process and how she quickly gained her trust:
"Well, one, you do your homework. You know some things before making a phone call, and I think we did that. And then for me, there were a few things that I wanted to talk about and that I wanted to hear, and everything she said was what I wanted to check off. She's a hard worker; she does it the right way. There were just so many things, and honestly, after the first phone call I knew she was the person I wanted to hire. You've probably heard this a lot, but sometimes you just know. So, we did our homework and had the phone call, and it was just the right decision on our part. We just needed to give her an opportunity to meet the staff and visit and make sure it was the right fit for her as well."

On the coaching changes across the SEC in the off season:
"Well the SEC is the best. Everyone wants to be part of the best. I think there's been a lot of buzz around women's basketball, and I think when you're talking about our sport it's a good thing."
Lady Vol Assistant Coach Samantha Williams
On her path to Tennessee and her relationship with Jon Harper:
"My relationship with Tennessee, with Pat Summitt and Mickie DeMoss, they first called me when I was a ninth grader. That started my relationship with Tennessee. They recruited me and the staff recruited me throughout my high school career. I even took an official visit here. I've been here many, many years prior. To answer your question about Jon Harper, Jon was actually a practice guy during my time when I played at Auburn. I always stayed in touch with Jon. He's always been one of my good friends. I've talked with him over the years. I never imagined that it would bring me to Tennessee now, but I'm thankful to be here and excited to get started."

On leaving a head coaching job at Eastern Kentucky for Tennessee:
"It was not an easy decision to leave Eastern Kentucky. I enjoyed my time and loved being a head coach. However, this is Tennessee, and the opportunity to continue to build what Kellie Harper is building here. This is an opportunity that I could not pass up. I'm just excited to get started."

On what experience she can bring to Tennessee with recruiting:
"One experience I can bring to the table is being able to identify the talent and the type of kids, both character wise on and off the court, that you need to build a championship team. A lot of times, people just look at talent, but there's a lot of other things that go into building the type of championship caliber team that can compete for a national championship."

On her prior relationship with the Harpers and how it played into her decision:
"Absolutely, it played a big part in my decision. I've been coaching for almost 20 years. I understand that so much of this is about your relationship with people. If you can come into work every day and enjoy who you're working with, then you have a chance to do something special. Again, it played a big part. It matters who you're working with in terms of character. I knew when coming in, the opportunity to work with Kellie and Jon would be a great experience for me."

On Joy McCorvey and moving quickly in terms of recruitment:
"I think we're both able to do this because we're able to build our relationships with coaches and certain programs. We were able to hit the ground running in terms of getting on the phone with those that we needed to. This business is about building relationships. I think that throughout our stops, Joy and I are able to get on the phone with coaches, parents and kids immediately."

On being back in the SEC:
"I'm very excited. I've told others before that the SEC has been elite. It's been at the top of women's basketball for many years. We're going on 30 to 35 years. It's always been elite. Even more so now with the players that are coming in and the coaches. It's going to be a battle. I'm excited to be a part of that, and I'm ready to get started."

On her first impression of the players and the team as a whole:
"I think they're great; I think they're excited. I was able to watch a few workouts, and they work very hard. From what I could tell so far, they're great people. They're excited to get started. I was here when they met Coach Joy as well. The energy from them was very welcoming and excited to get started as well."
Lady Vol Assistant Coach Joy McCorvey
On the decision to come to Knoxville and join Kellie Harper's staff:
"This has been an exciting process. I am grateful for Florida State and the opportunities that I had and my time there to grow as an assistant and to build relationships. But, I am super-excited to be a part of this staff, to help Kellie to continue to grow our program and to chase national championships. I've met a couple of the girls, some of the team, and I'm just excited for the electric atmosphere, the things that we've talked about and just getting to know them. And I'm ready to hit the ground running from a recruiting standpoint and also from a basketball standpoint."

On what she knew about Kellie Harper before the interview process, impressions of her through watching her career:
"She's very well-respected in the business, and she's a proven winner. She's won at every stop that she's been. And obviously her passion for the University of Tennessee, the incredible accomplishments she was able to have here as a player and now being able to, hopefully, give that same experience to our current student-athletes – that's something that really stood out to me. She's a competitor. She's driven. She wants to win and just our conversations initially, they were really great. I felt as if I had known her for a while, and I was just really honored to hear just the great things and the vision that she has for this program and I am very excited to now be a part of that."

On decision to leave Florida State and whether it was a hard sell for Kellie Harper to get McCorvey on her staff:
"Again, I am very, very grateful for the opportunities that I had in my time at Florida State to grow as a coach and just the opportunity to continue to elevate in that program as a coach. Tennessee is Tennessee. Everyone in the country, no matter where you are, knows Tennessee women's basketball. So, the most important thing to me was the relationships and doing it with great people. Obviously, just the resources that Tennessee provides for women's basketball, the support from our administration, the community – that's something that you don't get everywhere. So I was excited for that. It is a place where you can chase national championships. You can win national championships. Obviously, we've done that here. So, for me, the most important thing was just the people and the people sharing the same vision, and that is definitely evident in our staff and with our players. So it was not a hard sell. Obviously, relationships are the most important thing to me, and again, I'm forever grateful for my time at Florida State, but I am pumped to do it with our staff here."

On what her primary responsibilities will be at Tennessee, having post and guard coaching experience:
"We have not dove into just the basketball piece yet. Our first and number-one priority when Sam (Samantha Williams) and I both were hired was to make sure that we were on the phone and we were using our past relationships to really connect with coaches and reach out to recruits and really just get the excitement and the buzz going for Tennessee women's basketball. In the two years Kellie has been here that buzz has escalated tremendously, so it's exciting just hearing from coaches and players of how much they watch Tennessee and how they're excited to be recruited from us. So, we have not done any basketball things yet, but I am ready for whatever role Kellie sees that is going to best help our program."

On first impressions of the team:
"I got to meet some of them, which was awesome. My first objective is to just get to know them as people before we even start to tackle the basketball, so I really was just interested in what they like to do. You know, what are places around campus, places that they like to shop? Their social media and just learning about their families. That's been my number one priority before we talk about any basketball with them, so I was excited that I had the opportunity to meet some of them. I text back and forth with others that I did not get to meet. So, for me, that is the number one thing. Obviously just from what they've done in two years, they want to win. They're competitive and they are excited about just the change and excited for where we're going with our program, so that meant a lot to me. Also, just hearing why they chose Tennessee was very important, and the answers were very genuine and very passionate and that also made me feel really good."

On the transition moving from Tallahassee to Knoxville:
"Well, I'm just trying to get from my hotel to the arena without my GPS, so that's the first task. Obviously, it comes with being in this business, so I'm just trying to figure it all out but my number one goal was to get here and really be able to meet with our staff in person and really start to dive into recruiting and we'll obviously move more into basketball. So that will come. They're all great problems to have, so I'm taking it day by day. All of that will eventually work out."

On if she had visited Thompson-Boling Arena or Knoxville previously:
"I had not been in the arena. I've just watched on TV, but I knew of Tennessee women's basketball growing up. I was a big fan from a child, just watching from afar. I've come to Knoxville as a young child on a family trip, but that's really the extent of my time here."

On the quality of the facilities being a selling point for recruits:
"We have some of the best facilities in the country. Our campus is one of the best in the country, so I just think the facilities, the resources that we talked about before and just the support from our administration and our community, those are all things that you don't get everywhere. This place is really special and their commitment to women's basketball and their commitment to us chasing national championships and being an elite caliber program."
Feb 22, 2016
Great info! Thanks for posting!
Coaches sound fired up and ready to go!
I believe coach Sam said excited to get started like five times.
Really appreciate the prioritization of getting to know the kids personally.
Both just very impressive.
agreed, I especially like the Samantha Williams hire,,,Not as familiar with Covey, but will be as I investigate
Likes: dtnvol


Well-Known Member
Nov 7, 2019
agreed, I especially like the Samantha Williams hire,,,Not as familiar with Covey, but will be as I investigate
Coach Williams understands one thing Women's College Basketball is at its best when Lady Vols are contending for NC. And I truly believe she will help move The Program back to this Place. In CHRIST Alone


Well-Known Member
Mar 5, 2008
It felt good to hear Kellie say that the Lady Vols owe it to Women’s Basketball to be highly competitive on the national scene. We need this kind of energy at the top first and foremost. Hoping she gets it done now that she has an upgraded staff!
I think we are now in a position to again become a future contender for National Championships. I am excited with a couple of the ladies we have recruited for 2022 and 2023 and I believe we will be able to recruit at even a higher level. Happy days are ahead for the Lady VOLs

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