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Missouri State hires Kellie Harper as coach

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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (AP)

Kellie Harper, fired two weeks ago by North Carolina State, was hired Wednesday as the new women's basketball coach at Missouri State.

The university said Harper agreed to a five-year contract paying $145,000 annually, plus $60,000 for radio and television shows. The contract also includes performance incentives.

''My first priorities are the team, the staff and our signees,'' Harper said. ''We'll get started on those things right away.''

Athletic director Kyle Moats said Harper ''comes from a great basketball pedigree, and she is widely regarded as a great tactician.'' She played for her father at White County High School in Sparta, Tenn., then was a point guard for three national championship teams under Pat Summitt at Tennessee.

Harper, 35, has a career record of 167-128 in nine seasons. She was 97-65 in five seasons at Western Carolina, making the NCAA tournament twice and the Women's NIT twice; and 70-64 in four seasons at North Carolina State, with one NCAA and two WNIT appearances

North Carolina State fired Harper soon after the end of this past season. Her first team there was 20-14, but she was just 50-50 over the last three seasons, including 16-32 in the ACC.

At Missouri State, she inherits a team that returns nine players next season. Nyla Milleson's contract was not renewed after the Lady Bears were 14-17 in 2012-13.

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