In less than a week, Mississippi State appears to have found its replacement for Vic Schaefer.

Following Schaefer’s departure to Texas on April 5, MSU athletic director John Cohen is seemingly set to hire Old Dominion’s Nikki McCray-Penson as the new head women’s basketball coach in Starkville, according to reports.

A deal has yet to be officially agreed upon.

After a standout career under Pat Summitt at Tennessee, McCray-Penson spent 11 years playing professionally. A three-time WNBA All-Star and a two-time Olympic medalist, she finished her pro career with 2,550 career points.

McCray-Penson’s first coaching gig came as an assistant at Western Kentucky between 2006 and 2008. After helping the Hilltoppers to the 2008 Sun Belt Tournament championship and an appearance in the NCAA tournament, she joined Dawn Staley’s staff at South Carolina.

In 10 years with the Gamecocks, McCray-Penson helped USC to four SEC regular season titles, three conference tournament championships and the 2017 national title. Parlaying her time in Columbia into the head coaching job at Old Dominion, she’s recorded a 53-40 record in three seasons at the helm — including 20-win campaigns in both 2019 and 2020.

“Blessings come in different forms, but working with Nikki for the last nine years has been life fulfilling,” Staley said in a news release when McCray-Penson was hired at ODU in 2017.

“ODU’s past, present and future players and the Lady Monarch community have gotten a gem of a person and head coach.”

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