Pecora reached out to Pitt coach Jamie Dixon in 2006 after Dixon’s sister, Maggie, died from a heart attack. Pecora did not know Dixon, but he wanted to talk to him because he went through a tragedy in 1992 when his wife and mother-in-law were killed in a car crash.
Here is what Pecora told me in 2006 when I wrote about Dixon’s hurt before the 2006-07 season:
“My heart was bleeding for the guy,” Pecora said. “I told him that time is the only thing that has softened it. You never get over it. You just learn to live with it. It's an unfinished life. When an elderly grandparent dies, it's easier. You can make sense of it. But with something like we went through, you just try to let time pass and think of the fond memories. I live with it every day.”
Florida coach Billy Donovan also reached out to Dixon. Donovan’s wife gave birth to a stillborn child in 2001. Dixon appreciated the support from the tight-knit coaching fraternity.
“One thing I've recognized that as tragic as it is to lose Maggie and John in such a short period of time, people move on,” Dixon said in 2006. “I see that in all the cards and letters I get. I still get letters, especially lately. The letters I get now are from people who have gone through the same thing. I don't know if that makes me feel any better, but it makes me realize that a lot of people go through these things. They lose a younger sibling or parents lose their child. You realize that other people go through these losses and continue to go on. I've learned that.”
In that quote, Dixon also referenced John Jacksen, a cousin who also died from a heart attack shortly after Maggie.
This is the first meeting between Dixon and Pecora, who is in his third season at Fordham.
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