Former ODU basketball coach and Olympic gold medalist Nikki McCray-Penson passed away at the age of 51 

McCray-Penson left a lasting impact on basketball globally as both an athlete and coach 

ODU Director of Athletics Wood Selig expressed deep sorrow over the loss, recognizing McCray-Penson's significant contributions to the game 

McCray-Penson led the ODU Monarchs to a 53-40 record over three seasons, including an impressive 24-6 record in the 2019-20 season 

McCray-Penson's coaching career was cut short by health reasons, but her drive, passion, and love for the game made her an exceptional mentor and role model 

She battled breast cancer and successfully overcame it, inspiring others with her resilience 

McCray-Penson's former teammate and current ODU women's basketball head coach, DeLisha Milton-Jones, praised her as a courageous fighter and a mentor to countless women in the sport 

After leaving ODU, McCray-Penson accepted the head coaching position at Mississippi State before stepping down due to health concerns 

McCray-Penson's basketball journey included a successful WNBA career, two Olympic gold medals, and an outstanding college career at Tennessee under the legendary coach Pat Summitt 

She continued to contribute to the sport as an assistant coach at Western Kentucky and South Carolina, helping guide both teams to successful seasons and postseason appearances