Mississippi State University Women’s Basketball Coach Nikki McCray Penson has stepped down from her position, effective immediately, to focus on her health.
McCray-Penson stated, “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.”
MSU Director of Athletics John Cohen said, “We appreciate the time and effort Coach McCray-Penson invested in our program and respect her decision to focus on her health and family. 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.”
MSU will conduct a national search before naming a new head coach. Doug Novak, who has served as McCray-Penson’s associate head coach, will serve as the team’s head coach on an interim basis.
Cohen added, “We have a remarkable group of student-athletes on our women’s basketball team, and we will devote our full resources to supporting them during this transition and throughout the season.”
DeSoto County News Service – News Release
Editor’s Note: McCray-Penson was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2013 and underwent chemotherapy treatment. She was declared to be in remission in the spring of 2014. Tuesday’s release did not specifically state the health issues she is currently dealing with.