The Mississippi State community is saddened by the passing of former women's basketball head coach Nikki McCray-Penson at the age of 51.

McCray-Penson, who joined Mississippi State in 2020, was known for her remarkable career as a women's basketball player.

She was inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2012 and won two Olympic Gold Medals in 1996 and 2000.

 McCray-Penson played nine seasons in the WNBA, earning three All-Star appearances and winning the 1997 ABL Championship.

Prior to her coaching career, McCray-Penson had an impressive collegiate career at the University of Tennessee, playing under the legendary Pat Summit.

1. She was a two-time SEC Player of the Year and a two-time Kodak All-American, contributing to two SEC Tournament Championships and the 1992 NCAA National Title.

McCray-Penson's impact extended beyond basketball, as she was admired for her leadership and dedication to the women she coached.

Her passing is a loss not only to the basketball community but also to her family, who remember her as a loving mother and wife.

Mississippi State President Dr. Mark Keenum expressed his condolences and highlighted McCray-Penson's courage and commitment.

The memory of Nikki McCray-Penson will continue to be cherished, and her family and friends are in the thoughts and prayers of many during this difficult time.