Hardaway athletic director Kendall Mills announced on Tuesday he was resigning as the Lady Hawks girls basketball coach. In the same announcement, Mills named Carver assistant and Hardaway alum Kelly Ellison as his replacement.
Mills, who remains the school’s athletic director, boys basketball coach and volleyball coach, just finished his 12th season as the Lady Hawks head coach. Hardaway posted a 12-15 record in his final season at the helm.
“I am stepping down (firing myself for getting soft on the girls, ha, ha) and my replacement will be none other than Kelly Ellison!” Mills said in an Instagram post. “Congrats Coach K on this great opportunity for you! Look forward to being Special Advisor to the Head Coach (new title, I just made it up).”
Mills said in the same post that Ellison will make the transition from Carver to Hardaway over the summer.
Ellison, 26, leaves Carver after a strong run for the Lady Tigers in the 2016-2017 season. The Lady Tigers posted a 26-5 record and played for the Class 4A state championship, ultimately losing to Columbus in overtime.
Ellison, who taught business education at Carver, also served as the school’s volleyball coach.
Ellison played under Mills at Hardaway and graduated in 2008, leaving the school as the record holder for assists and steals. She received several accolades during her time as a Lady Hawk, including being named a Fellowship of Christian Athletes All-Star, All-State Honorable Mention, All Bi-City First Team member, Wendy's High School Heisman nominee and Region 2-AAA All-Tournament Team member.
Upon leaving Hardaway, Ellison went to Stetson University, where she played during the 2008-2009 season. After appearing in 28 games for the Hatters and making five starts along the way, she transferred to Shorter University.
She played at Shorter for three seasons and was a three-time NAIA All-American and two-time NAIA Scholar-Athlete. She graduated with a 4.0 GPA in 2012.
One year after she had finished playing at Shorter, she returned to the team as an assistant to head coach Vic Mitchell.
"When Coach Reitz made the decision to leave Shorter for Mercer University, the first person that came to my mind was Kelly Ellison,” Mitchell said at the time. “She has stayed in touch with myself and our program since her graduation and had spoken with me more than a couple of times about getting into the coaching profession.”
"She was my one and only phone call."
Jordan D. Hill: 770-894-9818, @lesports