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Longtime Ellender Memorial girls' basketball coach Kenneth Dixon has died. 

Dixon's family announced his passing - just days after the coach had to be hospitalized before his team's opening-round playoff game with Salmen.

Dixon was 71.

The family said a memorial service will be announced at a later date.

Dixon is a coaching legend locally. He won multiple state titles with the Ellender girls' basketball team, always fielding one of the more competitive teams in the state.

Dixon's highly energetic coaching style inspired players throughout multiple decades. Many of those players have come back to the program in recent days while the team was still in the postseason - to show support to both current players, but also to Dixon.

Dixon told The Gazette earlier this year that he was "still having fun" coaching, and his final season was a successful one, guiding the Lady Patriots to the Class 4A State Playoffs as a top seed.

Before the opening-round playoff game, Dixon complained of a severe headache and dizziness, which led to his hospitalization. He was later diagnosed with an aneurysm, of which he never recovered.

Dixon's family is asking for privacy and prayers in their time of need. 

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Editor's Note: Kenneth Dixon is a legend. There's no other way to say it. Our thoughts, prayers and well-wishes are with the Dixon family and the entire Ellender family. A good man is gone. 

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