ODU formally introduces Nikki McCray as Lady Monarchs head coach

NORFOLK (WAVY) — Old Dominion formally introduced Nikki McCray-Penson as the new head coach of the Lady Monarchs basketball program.

McCray was introduced on Wednesday at the brand new $8.4 million Mitchum Basketball Performance Center. The 45-year-old McCray brings a very impressive resume to Old Dominion.

She was an All-American and was a two-time SEC player of the year at Tennessee and won two Olympic gold medals (1996 and 2000). After an 11-year pro career, McCray got into coaching and she spent the nine years as an assistant coach at South Carolina. This past season, the Gamecocks, coached by Dawn Staley, won the national championship.

Now McCray gets her first head coaching job as she tries to turn around a program that has won three national titles but has not been to the NCAA tournament since 2008.

“I know what success looks like, I’ve been a part of it I’ve been around it my whole entire life and that’s what I want here,” McCray said. “I want to give that tradition of winning back and I want to bring all that I’ve learned here to build the program.”

McCray replaces Karen Barefoot who left Old Dominion to take over at UNC-Wilmington. Attendance at the Ted Constant Center has dropped over the last decade and that’s something Athletic Director Dr. Wood Selig wants to change.

“At one time we had 2,000 season ticket holders, now we are roughly over a 1,000,” Selig said. “We’ve dropped in season ticket holders, we’ve dropped in attendance, so we want to make sure we do everything we can to get those crowds back. Nikki McCray is a coach whom I believe the community will follow and jump behind and come back to the Ted and support our Lady Monarchs.”

McCray has already assembled a coaching staff. Her contract is for five years and worth $250,000 per season.