Pat Summitt to receive courage award

NEW YORK -- Coach Pat Summitt will receive the Maggie Dixon Courage award when she brings her Tennessee Lady Vols to the sixth annual Classic that honors the former Army coach.

Summitt surprised the sports world with her announcement in August that she had been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimer's. She will begin her 38th season when the Lady Vols start practice on Wednesday.

"It is a tremendous honor to receive an award named after Maggie Dixon," Summitt said through a Tennessee spokesman. "In her short time as a coach, she was a great role model and a rising star in our profession."

Tennessee will face DePaul in the second game of the annual doubleheader at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 11. Six-foot-eight Brittney Griner and the Baylor Lady Bears will take on St. John's in the opener.

The winningest coach in college basketball -- men's or women's -- is the fourth recipient of the award. She joins Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer, former Army player Lt. Col. Kim Kawamoto and California's Tierra Rogers.

It's the second time Tennessee has played in the Classic named for the former Army women's coach. The Lady Vols beat Rutgers two years ago. The Scarlet Knights had played in all four of the previous Garden events. Army hosted Ohio State at West Point the first year.

The 28-year-old Dixon died April 6, 2006, of arrhythmia, probably caused by an enlarged heart. Her death came three weeks after she finished her first season as Army coach. She won the admiration of the academy and all of college basketball for leading Army to its first NCAA berth, where the Cadets lost in the first round to Summitt's Lady Vols.

Jamie Dixon, her brother and men's coach at Pittsburgh, started the doubleheader in 2006.