Collierville Schools mourns the loss of Nikki McCray-Penson, the most decorated student-athlete ever to graduate from Collierville High School. A member of the CHS Class of 1990, McCray-Penson most recently served as an assistant coach at Rutgers University.
As a member of the Lady Dragons basketball team, she was a three-time All-State selection, twice named Shelby-Metro Player of the Year, winner of the Tennessee Class AAA Miss Basketball Award, and named an “All-American” her senior year by Converse and Parade Magazine. After 33 years, she still holds three individual state records in high school girls’ basketball.
McCray-Penson was twice named SEC Basketball Player of the Year at the University of Tennessee. During her playing career she was a two-time All-American with the Lady Vols in 1994 and 1995, a three-time WNBA All-Star, and a two-time Olympic gold medalist in 1996 and 2000.
Following her illustrious playing career, McCray-Penson gave back to the game of basketball with over 15 years of coaching, including stints leading the women’s basketball programs at Mississippi State University and Old Dominion University. As an assistant coach for Dawn Staley at the University of South Carolina, McCray-Penson helped the Gamecocks claim their first-ever National Championship in 2017.
McCray-Penson is a member of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame, the Memphis Sports Hall of Fame, the Greater Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame, the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, and the National High School Hall of Fame.
In addition to her accolades on the court, McCray-Penson served as a spokesperson for the WNBA and NBA’s Pick & Roll Reading program. She was also selected as a member of the President’s Physical Fitness and Sports Council and was the first athlete to deliver the keynote address at the Library of Congress’ National Women’s History Month Celebration.