Joy McCorvey joins Lady Vol basketball staff

Joy McCorvey – Lady Vols / Credit: UT Athletics

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – University of Tennessee women’s basketball head coach Kellie Harper announced Tuesday the hiring of veteran assistant coach Joy McCorvey, who has spent the past three seasons on the staff at Florida State.

“I am very happy to welcome Joy McCorvey to the University of Tennessee,” Harper said. “Joy is a high-energy coach and very connected recruiter who brings great experience, relationship-building skills and a strong work ethic to our program.

“She is a terrific addition and complement to our coaching staff, and we all are excited to have her join us. I am certain our players will enjoy being around Joy and appreciate her honesty and compassion among the many fantastic attributes she possesses.”

McCorvey, a rising star in the profession who was elevated to associate head coach in 2020-21 while FSU head coach Sue Semrau took leave to care for her ailing mother, has 10 years of full-time experience in college basketball. Her résumé, which includes stops as an assistant in Tallahassee from 2018-21, at Michigan from 2012-18 and at her alma mater (St John’s) during the 2011-12 season, features nine seasons of 20+ wins. In every campaign except 2020, when COVID-19 forced an abrupt halt to competition, those teams went on to postseason play.

“I am beyond ecstatic to join Kellie and the Lady Vol family, McCorvey said. “Her track record speaks volumes; she’s a true winner in every facet of the word. Her love for The University of Tennessee couldn’t be more evident. She has a passion for teaching and empowering her players and staff which I admire greatly.

“You can’t speak on rich tradition and history in women’s basketball without speaking about Tennessee. It is the Mecca of women’s basketball with an elite standard of excellence and a continued commitment to the program’s success. It will be an honor to coach alongside Kellie and this staff in our quest for championships. I am ready to get to work!”

At Florida State, McCorvey played a key role in both player development and recruiting for the Seminoles. In 2020-21, she was instrumental in the rapid development of Morgan Jones, personally coaching and helping mold the 6-foot-2 guard into one of the best players in the ACC. Jones averaged 12.8 points, 6.3 rebounds, shot 45.4 percent from the floor and tied for the team lead with 23 steals in a career year where she took an enormous step, earning All-ACC First Team honors, ACC All-Defensive Team accolades and WBCA All-America Honorable Mention acclaim.

In her team’s biggest win of the year Jones was stellar, scoring 26 points and pulling down 10 rebounds as the Seminoles stunned then-No. 2 Louisville, 68-59. That league victory helped FSU make the NCAA Tournament in a season that saw FSU play only one non-conference contest due to COVID-19 cancellations before embarking on the always-difficult ACC slate.

McCorvey also made direct contributions in 2019-20, which included a 24-8 overall record and the team reaching its second ACC Tournament title game. Her efforts were key in the rise of All-America forward Kiah Gillespie, who finished a tremendous two-year run with FSU by averaging 15.6 points, 8.7 rebounds and shooting 45.1 percent from the floor. The development of freshman center River Baldwin also was evident in 2019-20, as she won ACC Rookie of the Week twice.

With McCorvey spearheading the team’s recruiting efforts and low-post play, Florida State made large strides in both areas under her watch. The Seminoles’ 2019 signing class consisted of five-star players Baldwin and Sammie Puisis as well as top-20 post player London Clarkson. The 2021 group included four-star prospects in point guard O’Mariah Gordon and forwards Makayla Timpson and Mariana Valenzuela.

Gillespie and Valencia Myers enjoyed standout seasons in 2018-19 under the guidance of McCorvey. Gillespie earned WBCA All-America honors and grabbed a spot on the All-ACC Team. Myers, in her first season, made the All-ACC Freshmen Team and emerged as one of the nation’s most feared shot blockers with 54 rejections.

McCorvey played a big role in helping coach a Seminole squad that had to replace its entire starting five in 2018-19 to a 24-9 overall record and a 10-6 mark in the ACC. Despite entering the year with a majority of new faces and depleted depth due to injuries, FSU was able to make its 14th NCAA Tournament appearance in the last 15 seasons. In 2019-20, FSU was in the running for a top-16 host seed until the NCAA postseason was canceled due to COVID-19.

Prior to her stint in Tallahassee, McCorvey helped elevate the Michigan women’s basketball program during her six seasons in Ann Arbor, assisting her college head coach Kim Barnes Arico in that endeavor. The Wolverines made six postseason appearances (2 NCAA/4 WNIT) during that time, capturing the 2017 WNIT title.

One of her responsibilities during her time at Michigan was the development of the post players, helping pave the way for a second-round NCAA Tournament appearance for the Wolverines in 2017-18. Michigan led the Big Ten that season in rebound margin at +8.5 per game, a statistic that also was synonymous with Florida State’s success.

A special 2016-17 season in which Michigan set its program mark with 28 wins included helping former post player Cyesha Goree receive her second consecutive All-Big Ten Second Team honor. McCorvey’s established résumé also includes coaching five different players to eight All-Big Ten honors.

A standout player at St. John’s University from 2006-10, McCorvey was hired at her alma mater for the 2011-12 season and spent a year on Barnes Arico’s staff there prior to making the move to Michigan.

McCorvey worked primarily with the post players and helped guide the Red Storm to a 24-10 overall record and a second-place finish in the final BIG EAST Conference standings with a 13-3 league record. The Red Storm finished behind NCAA runner-up Notre Dame and ahead of Connecticut, which advanced to the 2012 Final Four.

St. John’s relegated UConn to third place after defeating the Huskies 57-56 (Feb. 19, 2012) in Storrs, snapping Connecticut’s 99-game home winning streak. The Red Storm also made the program’s first Sweet 16 appearance after reaching the NCAA postseason tournament for a third consecutive year.

Before entering the coaching ranks, McCorvey made a name for herself as one of the Red Storm’s finest leaders, both on and off the court, during her four years as a student-athlete. She was instrumental in lifting St. John’s into the national spotlight, leading the team to three postseason runs. As a senior in 2009-10, McCorvey was part of one of Barnes Arico’s most successful teams, as the Red Storm finished with a 25-7 overall record and advanced to the Second Round of the 2010 NCAA Tournament.

A captain at St. John’s, she was a three-time Big East All-Academic Team selection (2007-08, 2008-09, 2009-10), a top 30 candidate for the 2010 Lowe’s® Senior CLASS Award, a member of St. John’s University’s prestigious President’s Society and was the 2008 recipient of the St. John’s University Marianne Noonan Memorial. She earned a bachelor’s in childhood education from St. John’s in 2010.

The native of Brewton, Alabama, and graduate of T.R. Miller High School is just one of four St. John’s players to amass more than 700 points and 700 rebounds. She ranks third in St. John’s all-time rebounding records with 777 career boards. McCorvey also ranks fifth all-time in field goal percentage (.517) and ninth in career blocks with 72.


-UT Athletics