Former Old Dominion University women's basketball head coach and two-time Olympic gold medalist Nikki McCray-Penson passed away on Thursday. She was 51 years old. "It is challenging to put into words how devastating the news of Nikki McCray-Penson's death is for all of us associated with ODU. Nikki made a lasting impact on the game of basketball around the world as she achieved the pinnacle of success in the world." Enjoyed it. . better platform as an athlete and a coach," said ODU athletics director Wood Selig. "From the first day I met Nikki, I knew she would have the same success as a coach that He had experienced as an athlete. Her drive, passion, enthusiasm, and love for the game have brought out the best in everyone around her and inspired everyone to work hard. To achieve the high level of excellence that Nikki has always aspired for. It is a shame that the world and future student-athletes will never be able to enjoy Coach McCray-Penson's coaching career. Nikki's husband, Thomas, and son, Thomas Jr. You are in the thoughts and prayers of all Kings at this time. The ODU women's basketball program is better today because of the many contributions Nikki and her family made in Norfolk." (Former ODU Women's Basketball Coach Nikki Mccray-Penson Dies At 51) McCray-Penson coached the Monarchs to a 53–40 record over three seasons. In the 2019–20 season, McCray-Penson led ODU to a 24–6 record and a potential NCAA tournament berth before the season was shut down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. ODU women's basketball head coach Delisha Milton-Jones said, "I am saddened to learn of the passing of my former teammate and friend, Nikki McCray-Penson." "Nikki fought bravely for others on and off the court, and her legacy will live on. She was a great person, teammate, coach, and mentor to me and hundreds of other women in the game of basketball. She grieved Will stay." Missed." After going 8–23 in his first season in 2017–18, McCray-Penson promoted a trade that saw the Monarchs go 21–11 and earn a bid to the WNIT. (Former ODU Women's Basketball Coach Nikki Mccray-Penson Dies At 51) After the 2019–20 season, McCray-Penson accepted the head coaching job at Mississippi State. He coached the Bulldogs for one season before resigning for health reasons. She returned to coaching for the 2022–23 season and completed her first season as an assistant coach at Rutgers. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013. But after nine months of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation, he was declared cancer-free. On Friday, The Tennessean Reported That He Died After Battling A Recurrence Of Cancer And Pneumonia. "I am saddened to hear that we have lost Nikki McCray," said ODU great and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman. "She was an amazing mother and was great in our sport from Tennessee to the US Olympic teams and kind through the coaching ranks. We all knew her and Nikki in our lives. The ODU Monarch family mourns today for this beautiful celebration." Woman. May he rest in heaven?" McCray-Penson played nine seasons in the WNBA after a two-year stint in the American Basketball League. As a rookie, he led the Columbus Quest to the 1996–97 ABL Championship and was named league MVP. After joining the Washington Mystics of the WNBA in 1998, McCray-Penson was the team's leading scorer in her first two seasons and played in the WNBA All-Star Game three times in her four years in Washington. (Former ODU Women's Basketball Coach Nikki Mccray-Penson Dies At 51) McCray-Penson played five more seasons in the WNBA, two with the Indiana Fever and one each with the Phoenix Mercury, San Antonio Silver Stars, and Chicago Sky, before retiring at the end of the 2006 season. With 2,528 points, she finished 24th on the WNBA career scoring list. Mccray-Penson Helped Lead The US Team To Olympic Gold Medals In 1996 And 2000. In her four-year collegiate career while playing for Pat Summitt at Tennessee, McCray-Penson led the Lady Vols to a 122–11 record, three SEC regular-season titles, two conference tournament championships, and four tournament appearances. NCAA. McCray-Penson was named an All-American and SEC Player of the Year in his junior and senior years. Mccray-Penson Graduated From Tennessee In 1995 With A Bachelor Of Science In Education. After an 11-year professional playing career, McCray-Penson spent two seasons as assistant head coach at Western Kentucky, where Selig was athletic director. Helped lead the Lady Toppers to a 49–17 record, which included a WNIT semifinal appearance in 2006–07 and a Sun Belt Tournament title and spot in the NCAA Tournament in 2007–08. (Former ODU Women's Basketball Coach Nikki Mccray-Penson Dies At 51) He then moved to South Carolina in the same capacity, helping the Gamecocks win four consecutive NCAA Tournament No. 1 seeds, the program's first coming in 2014. The Gamecocks reached their first NCAA Four after appearing in the event's Sweet 16 in five of six seasons. Finals in 2015. South Carolina achieved its best ever final national ranking in the 2016–17 season and was ranked No. stayed at 1.