Former Old Dominion University (ODU) women’s basketball coach Nikki McCray-Penson passed away at the age of 51. McCray-Penson, a prominent figure in women’s basketball, made a significant impact both as a player and a coach.
During her playing career, McCray-Penson achieved remarkable success. She was a two-time Olympic gold medalist with the United States women’s basketball team in 1996 and 2000. She also played professionally in the American Basketball League (ABL) and the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA).
Following her playing career, McCray-Penson transitioned into coaching. She served as an assistant coach for several college teams, including Western Kentucky University and the University of South Carolina. In 2017, she became the head coach of the Old Dominion women’s basketball team, where she made a significant impact on the program.
Under McCray-Penson’s leadership, the ODU Lady Monarchs experienced a resurgence. She led the team to a 24-6 record in the 2019-2020 season and secured a berth in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT). Her coaching expertise and dedication to the players were evident in the team’s improved performance and success.
McCray-Penson’s sudden passing is a tremendous loss for the basketball community. Her contributions as a player, coach, and mentor will be remembered, and her legacy will continue to inspire future generations of athletes.