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ODU hires Olympian, ex-WNBA star Nikki McCray-Penson

Old Dominion University makes the decision to hire Nikki McCray-Penson as head coach.

NCAA Womens Basketball: SEC Conference Tournament-South Carolina vs Mississippi State Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports

Just one month ago, Karen Barefoot resigned as coach of Old Dominion University women’s basketball team to take over the program at UNC-Wilmington. Since then, Nikki McCray-Penson was at the top of the list of eligible candidates to take her place.

The Virginian-Pilot announced today McCray-Penson is set to be named the new head coach.

The 45-year-old is no stranger to the game. She had the honor of being an All-American twice in her playing days at Tennessee and was the SEC player of the year in 1994 and 1995. After her 11-year long professional career, McCray-Penson was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in 2012.

McCray-Penson has also racked up numerous accolades over the years, including a college national championship ring -- this past season with the Gamecocks, two Olympic gold medals and a most valuable player trophy from the American Basketball League.

Most recently, she was an assistant coach at South Carolina, working under former University of Virginia star Dawn Staley. She was employed at USC since 2008, and helped recruit a team of players that went on to win the national championship.

McCray-Penson has a broad understanding of the game and a stellar track record. ODU may have lost Barefoot, but they’ve gained a woman with the momentum and strength to guide the team through many victories.