Mississippi State sporting director John Cohen concluded his second major search for coaches in 2020, replacing Vic Schaefer in a week.
The hiring of Nikki McCray-Penson has sparked many positive reactions from Mississippi State fans and the female college basketball community.
McCray-Penson’s track record for victories includes her days as a Tennessee player in the 1990s. The All-America and SEC double player of the year ended her college career with a record of 122-11 and three regular season championships.
She also had success at Old Dominion as a head coach, as well as when she was an assistant in western Kentucky and South Carolina.
LaChina Robinson, a basketball analyst, tweeted that McCray-Penson “deserved” the new job, and the state of Mississippi picked up a “winner on and off the field.”
Here’s a sampling of other reactions after the news broke Mississippi hired McCain-Penson, a former WNBA star player and two-time gold medalist.
Praise of South Carolina
Dawn Staley, the South Carolina women’s basketball coach, congratulated her former assistant on Twitter. She described McCray-Penson as “a great person, coach and community leader”.
“You are a natural born winner!” Wrote Staley.
“Return to the SEC”
The state of Mississippi highlighted the praise of several members of the female basketball community on the program’s Twitter account, including a quote from Mechelle Voepel, an ESPN writer who covers women’s basketball.
“It is great to see someone who has reached the highest level of basketball as a player has also worked so hard to win the chance to resume a program of the caliber of Mississippi State. There is no doubt that Bulldog fans remember first-hand how stubborn a competitor Nikki McCray was when she played at Tennessee.
“And they watched what she helped build in South Carolina as an assistant coach. She excelled in her first role as head coach at Old Dominion, and it seems fair to return to the SEC. “
Blake DuDonis, the head coach of women’s basketball at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, spoke to those who questioned the hiring. At one point, DuDonis also worked as a play-by-play guy and color commentator on SEC Network +, according to the biography of his current school.
“The hiring is about,” he said on his Twitter account. “Record your hot catches, because you don’t know. But I know this: Nikki McCray has literally won in EVERY place she has been.
“Celebrate and support her as I know you all can.” You are among the best fans in the country. And you have a great coach. “
“A very different feeling”
Matt Dowell, sports presenter and reporter for WACH FOX in South Carolina, described the Mississippi state rental as “a huge step forward” for McCray-Penson.
“It gives the rivalry between the state of South Carolina and Mississippi a very different feeling,” he said on Twitter.
His colleague sports director Mitch Brown said on Twitter: “The SEC has just won another winner. “
“Proven winner”: Mississippi State Hires Nikki McCray-Penson As Basketball Coach
Nikki McCray-Penson: 5 things to know about the new MSU trainer
Respect for a rival
Ole Miss women’s basketball coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin interacted with a tweet on Saturday, noting that six black coaches were running SEC women’s basketball programs. Two are in the state of Mississippi with McPhee-McCuin and McCray-Penson.
McPhee-McCuin welcomed the new Mississippi State coach to Magnolia State.
” Happy for you!! She tweeted.
End speculation: How Mississippi State Players Show Commitment to New Coach
Danielle Robinson, a WNBA basketball player for the Las Vegas Aces, said she woke up to the news of McCray-Penson’s new job. Robinson said she was “thrilled” for the coach.
“She deserves so much!” Robinson tweeted. “I wish you all the best coach and a lot of success. “