Rebels legend credits friends, family for honor

By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal

OXFORD – Peggie Gillom-Granderson can tell you the date, hour and minute that she heard the news.
She can tell you a lot more about all who have helped her achieve yet another basketball honor – the ultimate honor – and she wonders how she’ll fit all those people into a five-minute block of time.
The former Ole Miss All-American, later the Texas A&M head coach and twice an Ole Miss assistant will be enshrined in the women’s basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville on Saturday.
“I was just sitting down thinking of all the people, my friends who have meant a lot to me and done and helped me, gave me the ball,” said Gillom-Granderson, who is now retired from coaching and helps with the Ole Miss Fellowship of Christian Athletes. “You don’t have time to thank all those people. I’ve got to get it out. You just don’t have time, and there were so many people who were instrumental in my life, and some are gone.”
From a family of 10 children in Abbeville – a Lafayette County town which totaled fewer than 500 residents in the 2010 census – then Peggie Gillom entertained thoughts of playing basketball at then-Memphis State, Florida State or Delta State before settling in at Ole Miss.
She became the first African-American female to play basketball at Ole Miss in a career that spanned from 1976-1980.
She remains the program’s all-time leading scorer, her 2,486 points 300 ahead of her sister Jennifer Gillom, the No. 2 scorer, who played from 1982-1986.
Jennifer Gillom played in the WNBA and the Olympics. Gillom-Granderson coached in the WNBA and the Olympics.
The women’s sports venue used primarily for Ole Miss volleyball bears their name.
marked her calendar
This weekend’s Hall of Fame events have been on Gillom-Granderson’s calendar for almost a year.
“It was June 27, 2012 at 9:17 a.m.,” she said. “I could not believe it. I said, ‘There’s no way.’ This is one of those, ‘but God moments.’ I just did not think I would be in the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.”
Gillom-Granderson joins her sister and former Ole Miss coach Van Chancellor has Hall inductees. Jennifer Gillom was enshrined in 2009, Chancellor in 2001.
“When you think about Pat Summitt, Sue Gunter, the great players, Patricia Roberts that I played against … It’s like Oh my gosh, I’m going in with these people,” Gillom-Granderson said. “I’ve done what I think I’m supposed to do. I tried to do my job. I did it, and that was it.”
parrish.alford@journalinc.com