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Friday, July 27, 2007
Maggie Dixon Classic finds permanent home at MSG

Associated Press

NEW YORK -- The Maggie Dixon Classic has found a permanent home at Madison Square Garden, and her brother thinks that's a perfect place to honor the late Army women's basketball coach.

"The Garden approached us last year, but we felt that the first one should be at West Point," Pitt men's basketball coach Jamie Dixon said. "The next one should be at Madison Square Garden since that's where all of basketball starts."

The second annual Maggie Dixon Classic will be played Dec. 8 at the Garden with a women's basketball doubleheader featuring Rutgers, Duke, Pitt and Army. It is the first women's doubleheader there since 1981, when Rutgers, Louisiana Tech, Old Dominion and Cheyney State took part.

Maggie Dixon died April 6, 2006 of arrhythmia, probably caused by an enlarged heart. Her death came three weeks after her first season as a head coach, a performance that won the admiration of the academy and all of college basketball.

"With the addition of these games to our schedule, we are proud to commemorate and celebrate Maggie's passion for the sport," said Joel Fisher, senior vice president, MSG Sports Properties.

National runner-up Rutgers will face Army in one game and Duke will meet Pitt in the other.

"I don't think you could have picked four better teams with the tradition of their programs," Dixon said. "The hope is to make this the premier women's basketball event."

Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer said the Classic is special because of Dixon.

"She embodied all that is good about this profession," Stringer said.

First-year Duke coach Joanne P. McCallie was happy her team was part of the event.

"Maggie set such a high standard in all that she did," she said.

The inaugural Maggie Dixon classic was held at West Point last season -- a men's and women's doubleheader. Pitt's men's team beat Western Michigan and Ohio State routed Army. The highlight was a ceremony between games in which Maggie Dixon's parents, sister Julie Dixon-Silva and Jamie Dixon were presented with a ring commemorating the 2005-06 Patriot League championship. Banners honoring that title and Maggie's selection as conference coach of the year were unfurled at Christl Arena.

Jamie Dixon said he wouldn't be able to attend the games at the Garden this year, but his parents and sister will be there.