Pat Summitt, University of Tennessee women’s head basketball coach, announced today that Kathy Harston had been selected as the Basketball Operations Director for the Lady Vols.
Harston, a longtime assistant coach under former University of Texas Hall of Famer Jody Conradt, replaces Danielle Donehow who left UT in April to become the Chief Operating Officer of the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream.
“We are pleased to have Kathy join our staff,” said Summitt. “She brings a wealth of experience and knowledge in all phases of the game and operations and will be a tremendous asset to the Lady Vol basketball efforts. Kathy is well-respected individual in the women’s collegiate basketball world,” added Summitt.
Harston served for 18 years as an assistant coach with the Longhorns basketball program from 1989-2007. Upon Conradt’s retirement in March of 2007, Harston was named as an academic counselor in the Texas Athletics Department.
The Southlake, Texas native has a knack for working with Hall of Famers and icons in women’s basketball. She cut her collegiate coaching teeth as a assistant coach under former head coach Marsha Sharp at Texas Tech University from 1982-84.
“I am extremely appreciative of the opportunity presented to me by Pat Summitt and the University of Tennessee,” said Harston. With the retirement of Jody Conradt in March of 2007, I stepped away from the game and served in our Student Services department at Texas.
Although I enjoyed that experience, being away from the game of basketball this year, after 21 seasons as an college assistant coach, showed me how much I missed it. I wanted to return to the game, and I examined some opportunities to get back into collegiate basketball. The opportunity at Tennessee is an amazing one.
“I am so fortunate to have worked closely with one Hall of Famer in Jody Conradt, and now I have a wonderful opportunity to work with another Hall of Famer in Pat Summitt,” said Harston.
As an assistant at Texas, Harston's duties revolved around day-to-day coaching and practice responsibilities and opponent scheduling. Her primary focus was on coaching the Longhorn offense and handling the perimeter players.
Over her 18 years at Texas, Harston's commitment to the program resulted in helping UT to 14 NCAA tournament appearances (including Sweet 16 showings in 2002 and 2004, as well as a Final Four berth in 2003) and eight conference championships (five regular season titles, three tournament championships).
An outstanding collegiate player, Harston had an impressive basketball career in her own right. A former National Player of the Year candidate while starring at AIAW national powerhouse Wayland Baptist, she was selected as one of the "Top 25 Players of the Pre-NCAA Basketball Era" by ESPN.com in January of 2006. That honor was awarded to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the NCAA.
Harston was a Kodak All-American and a finalist for the 1980 Wade Trophy National Player of the Year award at Wayland Baptist. She led the Flying Queens to the 1977 National Women's Invitational Tournament (NWIT) post-season tournament championship and to a fourth-place finish at the 1978 AIAW National Championship.
After receiving her bachelor's degree in physical education (1980) from Wayland Baptist, Harston then earned her master's degree in education from North Texas State University in 1982. During that time, she began her successful coaching career at Hale Center High School in 1980-81. She then spent two years as an assistant coach at Texas Tech University, helping Tech to two national tournament showings.
After that collegiate assistant coaching tenure, Harston returned to the high school coaching ranks for a five-year stint at Plainview High School in Plainview, Texas. At Plainview, she was head basketball coach and athletic coordinator. Under her direction, Plainview won the Texas Class 5A State Championship in 1986-87, and Harston was named Texas State High School Coach of the Year. Two years later, Harston began her long association with The University of Texas.
Harston was inducted into the Texas High School Basketball Hall of Fame in 1996. Additionally, on Feb. 24, 2008, Harston was inducted into the Wayland Baptist Athletic Hall of Honor for her outstanding basketball contributions and achievements.
Story Courtesy: UT Lady Vols Sports Information