Eugenia Conner: An athlete to know

This Ole Miss legend is an athlete to know.

Eugenia Conner: An athlete to know

Eugenia Conner was born in Gulfport, Mississippi in 1963 and competed at the University of Mississippi from 1981 to 1985.

A formerly self-described "uncoordinated" player who was told she was going to play basketball, became Ole Miss team captain junior and senior seasons and an All-American and All-SEC player.

She would also eventually serve as captain of Ole Miss women's basketball, who beat Tennessee in 1985 to advance to its first NCAA tournament Elite Eight.

And longtime Ole Miss head coach Van Chancellor told the Biloxi Sun Herald, "I thought from day one, Eugenia Conner had greatness written all over her."

She became a high school player of the year and All-American, even receiving more than 225 college offers, according to the Biloxi Sun Herald.

But Eugenia said recruitment was a lot of pressure and "the worst time of her life."

Chancellor went on to say, "She's the reason we turned things around at Ole Miss. She paved the way for easier things at this program, and I'll always be grateful for her."

She scored 1,993 points and 1,177 rebounds, averaging 15.8 points, 9.3 rebounds and a 56.7 field-goal percentage throughout her career. 

A couple (not all) of her Ole Miss accomplishments:

  • named to the All-SEC first team during all four years of her career (the first person to do so at Ole Miss)
  • recorded the first triple double in school history (15 points, 12 rebounds, 11 assists in 1982 vs. McNeese)

Conner played professionally for three years, in Spain and Italy, then moved home to become a social-work investigator, according to a 1993 article from Biloxi's Sun Herald.

"Yes, I do miss basketball. Of course I miss the paycheck and traveling. But I enjoy this more, because I'm making a difference," she said. "And yes, the people overseas were upset. I don't blame them. But this is something I really wanted to do."

She died from a heart attack at 30, in 1994. She was inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 2017. She was named an SEC Legend in 2020.

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