Remembering Maggie Dixon

AP Photo/Stephan Savoia

The late Maggie Dixon, who coached Army to its first NCAA tournament appearance in 2006, is remembered every year at a basketball event named in her honor.

Today, on what would have been her 37th birthday, we remember Maggie Dixon, the beloved former women's basketball coach at Army.

After playing four years of varsity ball at San Diego, Dixon turned to coaching at the suggestion of her older brother, Jamie, the head men’s basketball coach at Pittsburgh. Upon moving to Chicago in the spring of 2000, Dixon sought out DePaul women’s coach Doug Bruno and begged for a job on his coaching staff. There were no positions available, so Bruno tapped Dixon to help run his summer camp. Within a year, she had secured an assistant coaching position with the team.

Dixon remained part of Bruno’s staff until 2005, when she was offered the head coaching job at Army days before the start of the 2005-06 season. Compiling a 20-11 record, Dixon led the Black Knights to their first NCAA tournament. Weeks after losing to Tennessee in the first round, Dixon died of a heart arrhythmia. She was just 28 years old.

Dixon's death was mourned throughout the college basketball world. She was buried at West Point Cemetery, an honor usually reserved for high-ranking military officials.

As a way to continue her legacy, the Maggie Dixon Classic was created ahead of the 2006-07 season and has been played annually since. Jamie Dixon's Pittsburgh men's team played in the inaugural event at West Point. The event has since moved to Madison Square Garden, where it remains today, and often features the elite programs in women’s basketball. It also houses a heart and health expo aimed at increasing awareness.