Last week, Vic Schaefer left the Mississippi State women’s basketball program to take the head coaching position at Texas. Since then, we have kept you up to date on potential candidates to replace him.
Sources tell The Ball Out, the Bulldogs will be naming Nikki McCray-Penson as its next head coach. McCray-Penson will be coming to Mississippi State after coaching at Old Dominion for the past three seasons. She was named Conference USA Coach of the Year this past season and finished this season with a 24-6 record.
Louisville head coach Jeff Walz was the other finalist for the job.
Mississippi State has officially hired McCray-Penson as their next head coach. We first reported the hire Thursday night.
— The Ball Out (@theballoutmedia) April 10, 2020
It was officially announced this morning:
Join us in welcoming the newest member of the Mississippi State Family and head coach of @HailStateWBK!
— John Cohen (@JohnCohenAD) April 11, 2020
A two-time SEC Player of the Year is returning to the league, and we’re ready for more history to be made.
Welcome aboard, Coach Nikki McCray-Penson!
— Mississippi State WBK (@HailStateWBK) April 11, 2020
I'm so grateful and blessed for this incredible honor and opportunity to lead @HailStateWBK. My family and I are excited to be a part of the Bulldog Family and we can’t wait to get started! #HailState???? pic.twitter.com/Aob9AQ5uvr
— Nikki Mccray (@NikkiMccray15) April 11, 2020
Here’s what GoVols 247 Columnist Maria M. Cornelius had to say about the hire:
“Nikki is everything that is right about women’s college basketball. She is committed, dedicated, principled and fierce. Her resume speaks for itself – Lady Vol, WNBA, Olympian – and what she did as a head coach at ODU in just three seasons was tremendous. Nikki’s name had to have been on Mississippi State’s shortlist immediately. Nikki is from Collierville, Tennessee, which is just 150 miles from Starkville, so she knows the lay of the land already and what it takes to compete and recruit in the SEC.
“The branches of Pat Summitt’s coaching tree are blooming all over the SEC. Summitt said McCray played with a ‘sense of urgency.’ That’s quite a compliment from one of the most demanding coaches of all time. I just want to add my voice to the chorus of those applauding this decision by John Cohen to make Nikki the next head coach at Mississippi State.”