Sept. 15, 2009
PITTSBURGH--The University of Pittsburgh will host its Basketball Fan Fest and Maggie Dixon Heart Health Fair on Saturday, Oct. 3 at the Petersen Events Center from 1-4 p.m. Admission is free to this family-oriented event. Free parking is available in the OC Lot at noon. Doors open at 1 p.m.
Typically held in late October, Fan Fest has been moved to an earlier date prior to the start of basketball practice. The event will highlight the Pitt men's and women's basketball teams and feature various fan-oriented events including a behind-the-scenes tour of the Pitt basketball facilities and family activities throughout the concourse. Men's Coach Jamie Dixon and Women's Coach Agnus Berenato, along with student-athletes from both teams will conduct an interactive "Chalk Talk" and student-athletes will be available to interact with fans in various basketball-oriented games on the Petersen Events Center arena floor (sneakers required).
Held in honor of the late Maggie Dixon, Jamie's sister, the Maggie Dixon Heart Health Fair will be conducted in the Petersen Events Center concourse area. Individuals will have the opportunity to receive free health screenings, obtain free CPR and AED training, access educational heart health displays, play games and receive free giveaways.
For the first time, a Maggie Dixon Heart Health Fair will be held in Pittsburgh. Held annually at New York's Madison Square Garden, the Maggie Dixon Women's Basketball Classic and accompanying Heart Health Fair has become the nation's premier women's college basketball event. Last year, over 10,000 fans attended the women's basketball doubleheader featuring Army, Rutgers, eventual national champion Connecticut and Penn State. This year, the event will be held on December 13 with Baylor and Boston College squaring off in the first contest and Tennessee and Rutgers in the second.
Maggie Dixon was the vibrant, passionate and successful head coach of the Army Black Knights women's basketball team. In 2006, she guided her team to its first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance. Just weeks later, Maggie died suddenly due to an arrhythmia. She was only 28 years old.
Sponsored by the Maggie Dixon Foundation, the event's objective is to increase awareness of the risk of sudden cardiac death and the need for early diagnoses and preventive treatment. The Maggie Dixon Foundation is a national non-profit organization with the mission to prevent sudden cardiac death due to acquired and inherited heart disorders in children, adolescents and adults. According to C.A.R.E., a quarter of a million Americans will collapse from sudden cardiac arrest (SCA) each year. Every year, 7,000 U.S. children are stricken from sudden cardiac arrest. Heart screening programs like the Maggie Dixon Heart Fair can identify as many as 90 percent of those individuals at risk for heart arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death.
"The two primary goals of the Maggie Dixon Foundation are enhancing heart health awareness and promoting the growth of women's basketball," Jamie Dixon said. "We hope to bring the same success to Pittsburgh that the Heart Health Fair has experienced at Madison Square Garden. We also wish to thank all of the sponsors who have helped make this event possible."
Other sponsoring institutions and contributors for the Maggie Dixon Heart Health Fair include UPMC Cardiovascular Institute, UPMC Nutrition Services, UPMC Health Plan, Cardiac Arrhythmias Research and Education Foundation (C.A.R.E.), University of Pittsburgh Clinical and Translational Science Institute, Medtronic Corporation, Abbott Pharmaceuticals, Sudden Cardiac Arrest Association, Tri Community South EMS and Mortara Instruments.
Fan Fest will also feature performances by the Pitt Cheerleaders and Pitt Dance Team. Official Pitt merchandise will be on sale in the Panthers Team Store. Women's Basketball season tickets will also be on sale throughout the event and fans can sign up for the Pitt men's basketball ticket waiting list. In addition, Women's NCAA Tournament tickets will be on sale.
The Pitt men's team is coming off a 2008-09 season that saw it accumulate a 31-5 record, advance to the NCAA Regional Final/Elite Eight for the first time since 1974 and ascend to the nation's No. 1 ranking for the first time in school history. Last year, the Pitt women's program put together a school-record 25-win season and advanced to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen for the second consecutive time.
Pitt has scheduled its annual Blue-Gold Scrimmage for Saturday, Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. At this event, fans will get their first glimpse of the 2009-10 Pitt men's basketball team.
PRESEASON PITT BASKETBALL SCHEDULE
(all events held at the Petersen Events Center)
Fan Fest and Maggie Dixon Heart Health Fair, Saturday, Oct. 3, 1-4 p.m.
Men's Blue-Gold Scrimmage, Tuesday, Oct. 27, 7 p.m.
Men's Exhibition Game One, Pitt vs. Slippery Rock, Sunday, Nov. 1, 4 p.m.
Men's Exhibition Game Two, Pitt vs. Coker College (S.C.), Sunday, Nov. 8, 4 p.m.
Women's Exhibition Game One, Pitt vs. Seton Hill, Tuesday, Nov. 10, 7 p.m.
Men's Regular Season Game One: Pitt vs. Wofford, Friday, Nov. 13, 7 p.m.
Women's Regular Season Game One: Pitt vs. North Florida, Tuesday, Nov. 17, 11 a.m.