UConn's Chris Dailey receives Margo Dydek Award

DOUG FEINBERG (AP Basketball Writer)
The Associated Press
FILE - In this Jan. 28, 2015, file photo, Connecticut associate head coach Chris Dailey, right, talks with Gabby Williams, left, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Hartford, Conn. Dailey will be honored by the Connecticut Sun on Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017, with the Margo Dydek Award, given to an inspiring woman. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File)

UConn's Chris Dailey receiving Margo Dydek Award

FILE - In this Jan. 28, 2015, file photo, Connecticut associate head coach Chris Dailey, right, talks with Gabby Williams, left, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Hartford, Conn. Dailey will be honored by the Connecticut Sun on Tuesday, Aug. 8, 2017, with the Margo Dydek Award, given to an inspiring woman. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill, File)

UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) -- UConn associate head coach Chris Dailey remembers meeting Margo Dydek the summer before the Huskies won their first title.

The team was on a European trip with a stop in Belgium, and in walked the 7-foot-2 Dydek. Dailey wasn't impressed just with Dydek's size, but also her bigger-than-life personality.

Now 23 years later, Dailey was honored by the Connecticut Sun on Tuesday night with the Margo Dydek Award, given to an inspiring woman. Dydek played for the Sun from 2005-07 and died of a severe heart attack in 2011.

''What I'm most proud of is the award is about the person she was, not just on the basketball court,'' Dailey said in a phone interview with The Associated Press. ''Anytime you win an award, it's overwhelming. Especially one of this nature. I think it's flattering. I'm honored.''

Dailey received the award in front of the current UConn team as well as a few former players. Sue Bird and Breanna Stewart were in town as the Sun hosted the Seattle Storm.

''It's special because [we had] four of our former players there to share it with them, they are a lot of the reason I'm being honored,'' Dailey said.

Bird was thrilled that she was there for the celebration.

''What really has always separated CD is what she does not just on the court, but off the court as well,'' Bird said. ''How she helps the players. How she helped establish what the culture would be like at the University of Connecticut and that trickles into the community for sure. I'm sure what all of us learned as players as far as giving back and being present in the community came from working with CD and her teaching us what that meant.''

The Sun will donate $1,000 in Dailey's name to the Jay S. Fishman Fund at the Bruce Edwards Foundation to help find a cure for ALS.

''I'm really happy that they're honoring her,'' Stewart said. ''CD deserves all the recognition, more than she gets.''

Previous winners of the Margo Dydek Award include PGA of America Vice President Suzy Whaley, former Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell and former WNBA star Rebecca Lobo.

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