Natives of Abbeville, the Gillom sisters have earned accolades for their many accomplishments in women’s basketball. Their mother was Ella Gillom, and both attended Lafayette County High School.
Peggie Gillom was born on 14 April 1958 and played basketball for the University of Mississippi from 1976 to 1980, setting school records with 2,486 points and 1,271 rebounds. She played for one year with the Dallas Diamonds of the Women’s Professional Basketball League before returning to the University of Mississippi to serve as an assistant women’s basketball coach under Van Chancellor. Gillom remained at the university for sixteen years, during which the team captured the 1992 Southeastern Conference (SEC) regular-season championship and appeared in fourteen National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Tournaments, reaching the Elite Eight four times. In 1997 and 1998 she coached for the Houston Comets of the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), again as Chancellor’s assistant. The Comets won the league title in both of those years. Between 1998 and 2003, Gillom served as head women’s basketball coach at Texas A&M, compiling an overall record of 53–86. In addition, she served as assistant coach of the 2000 US Olympic women’s basketball team that captured the gold medal in Sydney, Australia. From 2003 until her retirement in 2011, Gillom served as women’s basketball associate head coach at the University of Mississippi. She married Anthony Granderson in 2005 and resides in Abbeville.
Jennifer Gillom was born on 13 June 1964 and attended Lafayette County High School. Gillom played basketball for the University of Mississippi from 1982 to 1986: her sister served as one of her coaches. She garnered four all-SEC first team selections and was named the conference’s Female Athlete of the Year in 1986. Jennifer Gillom’s career total of 2,186 points trails only Peggie among Rebel players . During Gillom’s career the team appeared in four NCAA Tournaments, reaching the Sweet 16 in 1983 and 1984, and she was named the Most Valuable Player of the 1986 NCAA Midwest Regional. Gillom played on the gold-medal winning US women’s basketball teams at the 1986 World Championship and the 1988 Olympics. Gillom played professionally in Italy from 1986 to 1996 and for the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury from 1996 to 2002, averaging 15.3 points per game. Gillom’s WNBA teams reached the playoffs three times, including 1998, when they lost in the finals. After one year with the league’s Los Angeles Sparks, she retired at the end of the 2003 season. Gillom went on to coach at Xavier College Preparatory School in Phoenix before becoming an assistant coach for the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx in 2008 and the team’s head coach the following year. She returned to the Sparks as head coach in 2010–11, spent the 2012 season as an assistant with the Washington Mystics, and since 2013 has been an assistant coach with the Connecticut Sun.
Both Gillom sisters have been inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame and the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame. The University of Mississippi’s Gillom Sports Center is named in their honor.
- Mississippi Legislature, House Concurrent Resolution 159; Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame website, msfame.com
- University of Mississippi, Official Athletic website, www.olemisssports.com
- WNBA website, www.wnba.com
- Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame website, www.wbhof.com