Former ODU Women’s Basketball Coach Nikki McCray-Penson Dies at 51
– Former Old Dominion University (ODU) women's basketball head coach and two-time Olympic gold medalist Nikki McCray-Penson passed away at the age of 51.
– McCray-Penson had a significant impact on the game of basketball as both an athlete and a coach.
– She coached the ODU women's basketball team for three seasons, achieving a 53-40 record.
– In the 2019-20 season, McCray-Penson led ODU to a 24-6 record and a likely NCAA tournament berth, which was ultimately canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
– McCray-Penson's coaching prowess helped revitalize the Monarchs' program, as they earned a bid to the WNIT following the 2018-19 season.
– After her time at ODU, she became the head coach at Mississippi State but stepped down after one season due to health reasons. She later served as an assistant coach at Rutgers.
– McCray-Penson battled breast cancer in 2013, underwent treatment, and was declared cancer-free nine months later.
– Reports indicate that McCray-Penson passed away while battling a recurrence of cancer and pneumonia.
– She had an illustrious playing career, spending nine seasons in the WNBA and winning two Olympic gold medals with the United States in 1996 and 2000.
– McCray-Penson played college basketball at the University of Tennessee, where she achieved numerous accolades and helped lead the team to success.
– Following her playing career, McCray-Penson served as an assistant coach at Western Kentucky and then at South Carolina, where she contributed to the Gamecocks' strong performances in the NCAA Tournament.
The basketball community mourns the loss of Nikki McCray-Penson, recognizing her contributions as a player, coach, and mentor.