Summer 2024

Rooted in love & faith, Yolett McPhee-McCuin coaches Ole Miss to historic season

The Ole Miss women’s basketball program had won double-digit games in SEC play only once before going 10-6 in conference last season. Despite losing three starters from that team, head coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin has guided the 2022-23 Rebels to a 22-7 regular-season record and 11 conferences wins, tying the best mark in program history.

>> Subscribe to Sports Spectrum Magazine for more stories where sports and faith connect <<

They closed out the regular season by winning at Alabama on Saturday. Leading 57-55, Ole Miss got a defensive stop on the final possession of the game to secure the victory.

“February is a grueling month,” McPhee-McCuin said after the game. “You can ask any coach in America. But one of the things I hope that people talk about is the character of my team to continue to climb in this month.”

The win clinched a second straight fourth-place finish in the SEC. In the locker room, McPhee-McCuin praised her team’s toughness and dedication to each other.

“This team is rooted in love,” she said. “So, when you love people, you don’t let them down. You give everything you have. We could have lost this game, and collectively we decided that we weren’t going to lose it. How beautiful of a basketball love story is that? What a way for us to end the season.”

Born in the Bahamas, McPhee-McCuin got her first head coaching job at Jacksonville University in 2013 and won at least 22 games in her final three seasons at the school before taking the Ole Miss job in 2018. She was the first Bahamian woman to sign a Division-I letter of intent to play basketball and the first Bahamian woman to coach at the Division-I level.

The Rebels more than doubled their win total in McPhee-McCuin’s third season (2020-21), setting the stage for their NCAA Tournament appearance in 2022. ESPN’s Charlie Creme currently has Ole Miss projected as a No. 7 seed. Other than the 22 wins, the Rebels’ resume includes taking undefeated No. 1 South Carolina to overtime on Feb. 19.

All the while, McPhee-McCuin leads with her faith. She consistently shares about it on social media, and she joined the Sports Spectrum Podcast in 2021 to discuss how God has guided her life.

“I think for me, just really locking in on, you know, you’re a child of God, you’re flawed, He died for our sins,” she said on the podcast. “How can you show appreciation to your Maker for giving you these opportunities? And I constantly think and talk about that.”

She’s adopted a motto of “no ceilings” for her program as a recognition of her journey from the Bahamas to being the head coach of a Power Five program. A fiery coach known for her positivity and energy, McPhee-McCuin relies on Scripture to fuel her so she can keep pouring into others during a long season.

“There are times in a season where you may lose faith,” she said on the podcast. “You may lose hope. And when hope is gone, hate creeps in. So, I try to fill myself up with the Word and His promises to me as much as possible.”

Ole Miss faces Texas A&M, Vanderbilt or Mississippi State on Friday in its first game of the conference tournament. A win would likely set up a rematch with South Carolina. The NCAA Tournament bracket will be revealed on ESPN on March 12 at 8 p.m. ET.

Dawn Staley, Yolett McPhee-McCuin meet in top-25 showdown as sisters in Christ
Yolett McPhee-McCuin giving glory to God as Ole Miss rides 8-game winning streak
SS PODCAST: Ole Miss coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin on coaching as her ministry
Ole Miss women’s coach Yolett McPhee-McCuin glorifies God after upsetting Kentucky
Jacie Hoyt leading through faith in 1st season at Oklahoma State: ‘He is on the move’