Just one year removed from back-to-back trips to the national title game, Vic Schaefer left some pretty big shoes to fill at Mississippi State upon his departure for Texas.
Who better to lace ‘em up than someone who did lace ‘em up in the Southeastern Conference? On Tuesday, Nikki McCray-Penson was introduced as the eighth head women’s basketball coach at MSU, now her third stop in the SEC.
McCray-Penson was the SEC Player of the Year at Tennessee under Pat Summit and was later part of South Carolina’s first-ever national championship as an assistant to Dawn Staley.
More recently, McCray-Penson spent the past three seasons at Old Dominion where she was just named Conference USA Coach of the Year last month.
Her entire career apparently just one big magnet to winning. Mississippi State Athletic Director John Cohen said, “You want to talk about a winner? Nikki has been part of 17 different championships as a player and a coach.”
McCray-Penson said, “I’m a competitor and my DNA is winning championships. I want to be playing on the last day of every season. That is a beautiful thing. I know what that feels like. I know what it tastes like. It’s a beautiful thing. So, just getting our kids to understand that and what that looks like and the progress towards that and this university is used to that. This women’s basketball team is used to that. So, they already have it. We just have to sustain it.”
McCray-Penson has retained every player on the roster she inherited with the exception of rising senior Chloe Bibby.