Maggie Dixon Classic Honors Memory of Inspirational Coach
Nov. 16, 2017
CHICAGO – Welcome to the Maggie Dixon Classic, the annual women’s basketball event honoring the memory of former DePaul assistant coach Maggie Dixon.
Dixon spent five years under the tutelage of the Blue Demons’ iconic head coach Doug Bruno before moving on to head up the women’s basketball program at Army West Point just 11 days before the start of the 2005-06 season.
Just as Dixon was an inspiring force to all she encountered in Lincoln Park, so too did this unique individual galvanize the male-dominated culture at the U.S. Military Academy with the force of her will and her gift for bringing out the best in others.
In no time, Dixon had cadets attending games in bigger and bigger numbers as they cheered the Black Knights onto a historically successful season culminating with a 69-68 win over Holy Cross to claim the Patriot League Tournament title and secure the school’s first appearance in the NCAA tournament where they lost the opener to Tennessee.
One day after the women’s Final Four, Dixon collapsed from heart arrhythmia, was rushed to the base hospital and later airlifted to Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, N.Y. In a tragedy that resonated across the nation, Dixon passed away at the age of 28.
Bruno was on his way home from the Final Four in Boston when he heard about Dixon’s situation. He immediately changed his flight and jumped into a four-seat plane headed straight to Westchester County.
“Maggie was lying in a comatose state, breathing through a ventilator,” Bruno said. “She had her normal, beautiful face. I was riding up the elevator with her sister Julie when tears started streaming down her face.
“I flew back to Chicago later that day, and I knew she had passed when I got off the plane. It was tough breaking the news to our team. We all went to her funeral in North Hollywood, Calif.
“Not a day goes by without thinking about Maggie. It’s a sign of how much impact she had on my life. It’s the impact she had on so many people.
“Our tournament is another small way of trying to remember her and the impact she had on our program. We will never forget how much she meant to us and to people all over the country.”
DePaul is partnering with the American Heart Association (AHA) at the Maggie Dixon Classic with the “Hearts and Hoops” initiative to promote heart health awareness. AHA volunteers that include DePaul nursing students will conduct hands-only CPR training on the concourse level of Wintrust Arena. DePaul assistant professor at the school of nursing, Karen Larimer, is the president of the AHA’s Chicago chapter.
On the court, Saint Louis and Mississippi tip off at 4 p.m. with No. 20 DePaul and Delaware State following at 6:30 p.m.
The Blue Demons (1-1) are coming off a sensational performance last Monday night when they tied the program record with 19 three-pointers in a 111-108 overtime victory over No. 21/21 Oklahoma at McGrath-Phillips Arena.
Six DePaul players scored in double figures led by Amarah Coleman’s 23 points highlighted by the game-winning, buzzer-beating three. Ashton Millender added 21 points, and the two guards combined to go 10-for-20 from long distance.
Kelly Campbell set a career high with 10 assists while Chante Stonewall notched a career-best with seven steals. Coleman set career highs with 23 points and five 3-pointers and Mart'e Grays established a career high with 18 points.
Delaware State opened its season with a 96-72 loss at Temple last week. The Hornets are led by NaJai Pollard who is averaging 21 points and seven rebounds.
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