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WNCAAB: Mississippi State’s Nikki McCray-Penson steps down to focus on health

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Mississippi State women’s basketball coach Nikki McCray-Penson has stepped down to focus on her health, the school announced Tuesday.

The school did not provide additional details on the health of McCray-Penson, who was named as the team’s coach in April 2020. The Bulldogs finished with a 10-9 record after being bounced by LSU in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

“Over the past several weeks, I have been faced again with health concerns I had hoped were behind me. In light of these developments, I have decided to step away from coaching in order to devote my full time and energy to addressing those issues,” McCray-Penson said. “Although I look forward to returning to coaching when I am able, I believe this is the best decision for me and my family at this time. I appreciate the support MSU has shown me, and I will be pulling for the team’s success this season.”

Doug Novak, who has served as McCray-Penson’s associate head coach, will serve as the team’s head coach on an interim basis.

“We appreciate the time and effort Coach McCray-Penson invested in our program and respect her decision to focus on her health and family,” Mississippi State athletic director John Cohen said. “Throughout her time as a player and as a coach, Nikki has shown herself to be a competitor, and we fully support her as she takes some time away from the game to address her health concerns.”

McCray-Penson, 49, was named the Conference USA Coach of the Year in 2019-20 after guiding Old Dominion to a 24-6 record overall and 14-4 mark in Conference USA. She posted a 53-40 record during her three seasons with the Lady Monarchs.

McCray-Penson was a two-time SEC Player of the Year at Tennessee under Hall of Fame coach Pat Summitt.

–Field Level Media

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