Allison Nix, wife of Derrick Nix, running backs coach at Ole Miss, told Heart For The Game about her relationship with sports and how she still cherishes basketball. Nix originally started as a softball player, before moving to basketball in third grade. As an eighth-grader, she got to play on the high school basketball team with her older sister. “She was more of the brains of the family,” Nix said. “I was more the athlete of the family.”
She said her uncle would always bring her a candy bar before her games, usually a Snickers or Reese’s. Nix said she appreciated the time she had to bond with the girls she played with. “You make your life-long friends in sports,” she said.
After high school, she committed to play basketball at the University of Southern Mississippi, the same place where her husband would be named to the USM “Team of the Century” as a running back. Listed as 5 foot 10 inches, she dawned the number 15 jersey, a tribute to Jeff Sheppard, a member of the Kentucky Wildcats, which was the team Nix rooted for growing up as a Kentucky native. She said he wasn’t the biggest scorer, but he was a hustler, which inspired her.
As she was able to watch her husband play football, he was able to watch her basketball games. She said she valued the time they had together, despite their busy college lives. “The fact that we were both athletes, we were able to understand each other’s world,” Nix said.
She received a bachelor’s degree in health education and a master’s in physical education. She started her teaching career as a physical education teacher, but now teaches science.
She said she has a hoop in front of her house and plays basketball with her husband occasionally. When asked who the better player was, she noted that her husband is stronger and can take the ball down low, but she still gave a definitive answer.
“I think I am a better basketball player,” she said.