Nikki McCray-Penson steps down ahead of Mississippi State women’s basketball season due to health reasons

STARKVILLE, MS - January 03, 2021 - Mississippi State Guard JaMya Mingo-Young (#0) during the game between the Kentucky Wildcats and the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Humphrey Coliseum in Starkville, MS. Photo By Austin Perryman/Mississippi State.
Photo: Austin Perryman/Mississippi State.

The Mississippi State women’s basketball team will be entering into the 2021-2022 season with an interim head coach as Nikki McCray-Penson stepped down from her position due to health concerns. Mississippi State announced McCray-Penson’s decision to step down Tuesday afternoon.

In a news release, McCray-Penson issued the following statement:

“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. 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.”

Mississippi State official news release

According to the news release, Mississippi State plans to enter into the 2021-2022 women’s basketball season with Doug Novak serving as the Bulldogs’ head coach. Novak was initially hired as an associate head coach for Mississippi State and has a lengthy record of coaching experience at various different stops.

To learn more about Novak, click here.

Mississippi State to conduct national coaching search to find next women’s basketball coach


Mississippi State announced plans to conduct a “national search” as it tries to find McCray-Penson’s successor as the head coach of the Bulldogs. It is not currently clear as to who the Bulldogs might consider or target during their search.

Unfortunately, McCray-Penson was only in Starkville for a brief period and will not have an opportunity to bounce back after a rough first season at MSU. During her one season, McCray-Penson and the Bulldogs only managed to go 10-9. However, prior to arriving at MSU, McCray-Penson proved to be a successful head coach at Old Dominion University and she’ll leave Mississippi State with a 63-48 overall record as a head coach.

For more independent Mississippi State news and commentary, follow The Underdog Tribune on Facebook and Twitter. Follow Ethan Lee on Facebook and Twitter.

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