Rutgers Basketball

Rutgers Mourns Loss of Coach Nikki McCray-Penson

The Rutgers community is mourning the sudden passing of beloved assistant women's basketball coach Nikki McCray-Penson. She was 51. A member of the 1996 Olympic team, and former college athlete at the University of Tennessee, McCray-Penson was entering her second season as an assistant on Head Coach Coquese Washington's staff. According to reports, the cause of her death was not announced. She is survived by her husband Thomas, and their 10-year-old son, Thomas Jr. On the Rutgers Athletics website, Coach Washington posted the following message: "Today is deeply sad and emotional day for everyone who knew and loved Nikki," head coach Coquese Washington said. "Nikki had a big smile and an even bigger heart. She was full of life, energy, and was so much fun to be around. Nikki touched the lives of many because she made it her mission to uplift others and help them achieve whatever dreams and goals they expressed. She was so devoted to her husband and son, and still gave all of herself to everyone in the program. We will miss her dearly but will keep Nikki's memory alive in our hearts." McCray coached women's college hoops for over 15 years with stops at South Carolina, and head coach gigs at Old Dominion and Mississippi State. She was 63-49 overall as a head coach with an appearance in the WNIT with Old Dominion in 2018-19. [select-gallery gallery_id="65669" syndication_name="rutgers-womens-basketball-vs-wildcats-2-15-23" description="yes"]