NEW YORK (AP) - 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.
Tennessee will face DePaul in the second game of the annual basketball 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 Cal’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 finishing her first season as coach at Army. 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.
Doug Feinberg can be reached at http://twitter.com/dougfeinberg.