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Death of Army Basketball Coach

Bossf51Bossf51 Registered User Posts: 2,604 Senior Member
The USMA's excellent young women's basketball coach, Maggie Dixon, 28, died unexpectedly yesterday. She had led the team to its first-ever NCAA tournament berth in her first year as the team's coach. My condolences go out to her family and the team.

Post edited by Bossf51 on

Replies to: Death of Army Basketball Coach

  • hazmathazmat User Awaiting Email Confirmation Posts: 8,435 Senior Member
    How sad and tragic. My condolences go out to her team members and of course her young family.....this is very sad indeed.
  • momnipotentmomnipotent Registered User Posts: 662 Member
    Heard this on NPR this a.m. What a great loss.
  • huskem55huskem55 User Awaiting Email Confirmation Posts: 4,284 Senior Member
    she was a terrific coach, big loss for the college basketball comunity
  • momoftwinsmomoftwins Registered User Posts: 2,668 Senior Member
    Both the West Point and DePaul communities are saddened by this loss. It's so unfortunate when someone with such a bright future is gone too soon.
  • condor30condor30 Registered User Posts: 1,083 Senior Member
    my hearts and prayers go out to her family, friends, players, and school community. very sad.
  • shogunshogun Registered User Posts: 1,895 Senior Member
    One young lady who works for me played HS b-ball with coach Dixon here in southern California when the two went to school together---everyone is shocked and deeply saddened.
  • momoftwinsmomoftwins Registered User Posts: 2,668 Senior Member
    And here's a link to an article about Maggie Dixon.

    Dixon's death cuts short a championship-caliber life
    By Adrian Wojnarowski
    Special to ESPN.com

    Maggie Dixon kept saying that this had been the most unforgettable weekend the Dixons ever had, the ultimate gathering for March's ultimate basketball family. West Point's women's coach was talking on her cell phone from a Manhattan hotel where her older brother, Jamie, was preparing his Pittsburgh Panthers for the Big East Conference championship game that night. Maggie and her folks had just finished an afternoon of shopping on Madison Avenue, and now she was going on and on about how she hoped that this was the beginning of a long journey of Dixon championship runs this time of year.

    Maggie Dixon's undeniable presence made a difference at West Point.
    "You dream about a weekend like this, about being able to share this whole thing with your family," Maggie said. This was a weekend that began floating on the tops of shoulders at the United States Military Academy, an impromptu ride around the floor flooded with a frenzied corps of cadets. That's where it started, bobbing in the air at West Point, celebrating the first Patriot League championship and bid to the NCAA Tournament for Army women's basketball.

    Maggie Dixon had been a storybook coach of the storybook season, hired from DePaul just days before the start of preseason practice, winning 20 games and making her brother and her the first siblings ever to make the NCAA Tournaments together as coaches. "This is such a great story," she said that day in the hotel suite.

    And without warning -- without anything but the cruelest of fates -- the Dixon family was back together on Thursday at the Westchester Medical Center where the most vicious of nightmares was unfolding. Maggie Dixon, 28, suffered an arrhythmia heart episode on Wednesday at West Point, leaving her in critical condition in the hospital's intensive care unit.

    Thursday night, she died at age 28.

    Three weeks ago for Maggie Dixon, life was the Tennessee Volunteers, the NCAA Tournament and becoming the toast of the Academy. Three weeks ago, they were worried that they wouldn't be able to keep Dixon at Army long, that she was on her way to the big time. Three weeks ago, she was living one of those blessed lives, when everything in life seemed to be within her grasp.

    This is the kind of story, the kind of tragedy, that leaves a pit in your stomach. Leaves you speechless. No warning. No justice.

    At West Point, they never get used to young people dying young. It's part of life there, but it's still the most piercing of pains. When they announced on Thursday morning that Dixon had passed overnight, they reported, too, the death of a 2002 graduate who had died in an Apache helicopter crash in Iraq.

    Perhaps they're forever bracing themselves for news of academy graduates dying overseas, but this one hit differently because no one could've seen this coming on campus with Maggie Dixon. Her basketball team had become such an escape for the Cadets at the Academy. It had become such a surprisingly special part of the winter.

    In the short time that she was at West Point, the Academy became so fond of Maggie Dixon, so taken with the basketball team that came out of nowhere to meet Tennessee in the NCAA Tournament. How many coaches in the history of West Point had been afforded a standing ovation of 4,000 cadets in the dining hall? How many people had turned that most stone-sober place to such elation?

    She brought magic to West Point, brought a touch and genuineness that endeared her and her team in a way that no one else in women's sports history at the Academy had done in that male-dominated environment.

    In his 30 years in the business, her top assistant, Dave Magarity, a Division I men's head coach for 25 years, had never been so moved by a scene as that of witnessing the incredulity of Maggie's face when the cadets picked her up and paraded her on the court after the Patriot League championship game in March. West Point finished 20-11, the best basketball season at West Point since Bob Knight was coaching there more than 30 years ago.

    "She's a special kid," Magarity told me. He would catch himself calling her a "kid," but hey, that -- and coach -- was what she was. "I know she isn't a kid, but she is to me. But Maggie, she's going to be a star."

    Dixon showed up at DePaul without a job, without a coaching r
  • momoftwinsmomoftwins Registered User Posts: 2,668 Senior Member


    Magarity sets task - 'continue this journey'

    By Ken McMillan
    Times Herald-Record
    West Point - There were a number of opportunities for Dave Magarity to walk away from the Army women's basketball program after Maggie Dixon's death, and one unyielding reason to stay.

    "I always came back to the one basic premise that I really wanted to coach this team, I really wanted to be with this group," Magarity, 56, said yesterday after accepting the promotion from associate to head coach. "I wanted to follow what we did and continue this job, continue this journey with these kids."

    Army (20-11) won its first Patriot League championship on March 8 and lost to Tennessee in the first round of the NCAA tournament on March 19. Dixon, 28, died on April 6 following an episode of heart arrhythmia, shocking the college basketball world.

    Army officials did not conduct a national search and offered the job to the only person they felt could bring closure after Dixon's death, and maintain continuity in a program that still has championship aspirations.

    "After speaking with a number of people associated with our women's basketball program, including the players and staff members, it was very clear that Dave Magarity was the best person to lead our program at this time," athletic director Kevin Anderson said. "He was the only person we considered."

    The Army team, clad in white dress uniforms, sat quietly in the front row of the Randall Hall auditorium as Magarity was introduced as the team's third head coach in the past nine months, and his eldest daughter, Maureen, was introduced as a full-time assistant.

    "I think we're all very pleased that he was able to take this job because it's all been very hard for us," said sophomore Stefanie Stone. "This will be an easier transition since we are all comfortable with him now."

    Senior Megan Vrabel, who will return as a graduate assistant coach, said she was glad the athletic department did not consider anyone but Magarity.

    "We had something really special," Vrabel said. "The team chemistry with the coaches was really special. We didn't really want to lose that. We all love him and we all want to work for him. ... We did say that he was our first choice. He chose to stay, and we're ecstatic about it."

    Army offered the job almost two weeks ago and allowed Magarity time to ponder his decision. Magarity was considering a scouting job with the NBA's New Orleans Hornets and one of his best friends, 12-year former Marist assistant Jeff Bower, currently the Hornets' general manager. He also listened to several college coaching offers but chose to stay with Army.

    "To sit there and look in the faces of these kids, all of them ... it would have been hard to walk away from these guys, and selfishly I realize I don't think I would have," Magarity said. "I would have regretted not doing this."

    Magarity spoke yesterday with Maggie's mother, Marge, and her sister, Julie, and both offered their support.

    "They were genuinely happy for me," Magarity said. "They thought it was right for the program and happy that I had made the decision."
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