Dixon: Public support eases grief over sister's death
PITTSBURGH -- Pitt coach Jamie Dixon expressed gratitude for an outpouring of public support following the death of his sister, saying her achievements would inspire athletes and other young people.
Maggie Dixon, the Army women's basketball coach, died after a heart arrhythmia in New York on April 6, just weeks after she led the Black Knights to their NCAA Tournament debut. She was 28.
Jamie Dixon said Thursday his family had received "an amazing number" of condolence letters and e-mail messages from western Pennsylvania and neighboring states, as well as from government officials.
"It really has pulled us through some tough times," he said, tears in his eyes. "I never did know how much it would mean. It means a lot."
He said talking about Maggie may appear to make him uncomfortable, but he believed it was important for people to know about her and her accomplishments.
"She can be an inspiration to a lot of people, to a lot of girls," Dixon said.
Last month, Maggie Dixon was hospitalized in critical condition after collapsing at a friend's house, where she had gone for afternoon tea.
She arrived at West Point in October to take over a team that had gone 74-70 over the previous five seasons. The team struggled early but won nine of its last 11 games.
Just six months after the rookie coach took over, a 69-68 win over Holy Cross in the Patriot League final put the Army women's team into the NCAA Tournament for the first time. Army lost 102-54 in the first round to Tennessee.
Her brother had taken Pitt to the men's tournament at the same time. The Dixons are believed to be the first brother and sister to coach in the NCAA Tournament in the same year.
Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press
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