COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Nikki McCray-Penson will now have the chance to lead her very own basketball program to prominence.
The Women's Basketball Hall of Famer was announced Wednesday as the new head coach at Old Dominion.
"Although this may be my first head coaching job, I have the comfort and wisdom gathered through my career around incredible head coaches," McCray-Penson said in a statement. "From playing for Pat Summitt at Tennessee and amazing USA Basketball coaches, to being alongside Mary Cowles at Western Kentucky and Dawn Staley for the last nine years at South Carolina, I am confident that they have prepared me for what lies ahead. I will take everything I have learned from them, mold it with my core values and pour it into building this program."
McCray-Penson, a two-time Olympic gold medalist, joined former Olympic teammate Dawn Staley in Columbia back in 2008 as an assistant coach. Since then, she's been instrumental in the Gamecocks' success. In fact, the Gamecocks have put together six consecutive seasons with 25 wins or more since the 2011-12 campaign.
South Carolina has an overall record of 179-32 during that run.
Most recently, McCray-Penson was a member of the South Carolina coaching staff that guided the Gamecocks to a 33-4 record and the program's first even national championship this past season.
"Blessings come in different forms, but working with Nikki for the last nine years has been life fulfilling," Staley said in a statement. "ODU's past, present and future players and the Lady Monarch community have gotten a gem of a person and head coach."
Before joining the Gamecocks, McCray-Penson was an assistant with Western Kentucky from 2006 to 2008 after her playing career in the WNBA ended.
During her time in the league, the former Tennessee star was a three-time All-Star as a member of the Washington Mystics. She also played for four other teams (Indiana Fever, Phoenix Mercury, San Antonio Silver Stars, Chicago Sky) during her nine-year stint in the league.