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Kim Caldwell reveals how long she has followed Tennessee basketball

On3 imageby:Dan Morrison05/21/24


Following the 2023-24 season, Tennessee made the decision to hit the restart button for the women’s basketball program and hired Kim Caldwell to lead the program into the future. It’s a Lady Vols program that, as she recently revealed, she has followed for a long time.

While at Big Orange Caravan, Caldwell met with members of the media. There, she was asked about how long she’d been following the Lady Vols and it goes back to her youth.

“Oh, elementary school,” Kim Caldwell said. “I mean, Tennessee Women’s basketball, every female that plays probably any female sport, they followed it.”

Like many young basketball fans, Caldwell would have started watching the Lady Vols when Pat Summitt was leading the program. She stepped down in 2012, but not before winning 1,098 games and eight national championships. In the process, she set the standard across women’s basketball for success.

In the years since Summitt retired, the deepest Tennessee has gone in the Women’s NCAA Tournament is the Elite Eight, which the Lady Vols did three times under Holly Warlick.

It’s been a standard that’s difficult for the Tennessee coaches to live up to since she moved on from the program. However, Kim Caldwell seems poised to succeed in her new role, after finding success at the Division II level and then in the Sun Belt, taking Marshall to the Women’s NCAA Tournament.

Rick Barnes on Kim Caldwell at Tennessee

There are big expectations on Kim Caldwell’s shoulders at Tennessee, but one person who expects her to succeed in Knoxville is the men’s basketball coach, Rick Barnes.

“Well, I’ve really enjoyed time with Kim. One, she’s gonna be successful and I can learn from her as much (as she can learn from me). You talk about wisdom, you can feel her passion, and I’ve seen what she’s done in a short time with what she’s got going right now and the way that they’ve spent this spring here. But I’ve really enjoyed time with her, and obviously, all this has been new to her, but the way she’s handled everything has been really remarkable. And I just think it shows you that Danny White knew what he was looking for when he went out there and made a great hire,” Barnes said.

“But she’s a basketball person, and you can tell. Last trip we were on the plane and we just watched a little film together and talking about it you can just tell from her insight she knows what she’s doing. And like I said, I love talking basketball with coaches and I think she and I will end up spending time talking basketball and I think I can learn from her.”