Former Bulldogs head coach Nikki McCray-Penson passes away

Starkville – The Mississippi State family mourns the passing of former women’s basketball head coach Nikki McCray-Penson. She was 51 years old.

“Mississippi State University joins the national college basketball community in mourning the sudden passing of Coach Nikki McCray-Penson last night,” said MSU President Dr. Mark Keenum. “I admire Nikki’s courage and her commitment to her players and this university while she faced significant health challenges during her tenure as our women’s basketball coach. While at Mississippi State, Coach McCray- Penson did his best to advance this university and the state of Mississippi. My wife Rhonda and I are deeply saddened by his death and are praying for his family and friends.”

McCrae-Penson, a loving wife and mother, was one of the most remarkable female basketball players the sport has ever seen. Before being named head coach at Mississippi State in 2020, she was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2012 following a professional career that saw her win two Olympic gold medals in 1996 and 2000, along with three All-Stars in the WNBA. Played nine seasons. -Star appearance, won the 1997 ABL Championship while being named ABL MVP.

A native of Collierville, Tennessee, McCray-Pension starred at the University of Tennessee for the famed Pat Summitt. She was a two-time SEC Player of the Year honoree (1994 and 1995) and a two-time Kodak All-American. She also helped lead Pat Summitt’s Lady Vols team to two SEC tournament championships and the 1992 NCAA national title.

“With a heavy heart we mourn the passing of Nikki McCray-Penson,” the head coach said. Sam Purcell Said. “She was an incredible basketball coach and a true leader of women, but more importantly, she was a loving mother and wife. Nikki and her family will remain in our hearts and our prayers.”

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