Women's basketball star Barbara Kennedy-Dixon passes away
For the third time in the last three months, a Clemson legend has passed away. She was 58 years old.
Former Clemson women’s basketball standout and Clemson Athletics’ administrator Barbara Kennedy-Dixon passed away Monday after losing her long fight with cancer.
Kennedy-Dixon was an All-American during her four-year career at Clemson from 1978-’82. Longtime Sports Information Director Tim Bourret said Kennedy-Dixon was the most dominant Clemson athlete in her sport during his 40-yeat career in Tiger Town.
Kennedy-Dixon averaged 24 points per game over four years, including a national-high 29 points per game her senior year.
In her last game at Clemson’s Littlejohn Coliseum, she scored 42 points on Senior Day and then went out prior to the men’s game and sang the National Anthem. After she was finished late North Carolina head coach Dean Smith went out to center court and shook her hand, acknowledging the respect she had from everyone in the ACC.
Later that year, she became the first woman to score in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Tournament. The NCAA did not recognize women’s college basketball until the 1981-’82 season.
Kennedy-Dixon still holds the ACC record for points (3,113) and rebounds (1,252) in a career as well as in a season. Her 29-point average in 1981-’82 is still the all-time national record for one season as well.
After her playing career, Kennedy-Dixon came back to Clemson and worked as an administrator for several decades before retiring in 2017. Over the years, she was inducted into the Clemson Hall of Fame and the Women’s Basketball Ring of Honor.
Kennedy-Dixon is the third Clemson legend to pass away in the last three months.
All-American tight end Bennie Cunningham, who also went on to win two Super Bowls with the Pittsburgh Steelers in the late 1970s, died on April 28 after he lost his fight with cancer. Cunningham played 10 years for the Steelers and was named to the franchise’s 75th Anniversary team in 2007.
Former wide receiver Dwight Clark lost his battle with ALS on June 4. He won two Super Bowls with the San Francisco 49ers during a nine-year playing career. He led the NFL in receptions in 1982 and the NFC in 1981.
Cunningham played for Clemson from 1972-’75, while Clark played from 1975-’78. Clark of course is known best for his game-winning catch in San Francisco’s 1981 NFC Championship Game against the Dallas Cowboys.