TCU Reaches High, Grabs Pitt's Jamie Dixon As New Men's Basketball Coach
Jamie Dixon is leaving Pittsburgh to become head coach at TCU, where he played in the 1980s. Scott Barnes, Pittsburgh's athletic director, said Monday that Dixon was taking the job and had already met with Panthers players to tell them.
Barnes said there had been several conversations with Dixon since Pitt was knocked out of the NCAA Tournament last week. The AD said he "learned that Jamie's heart and Jamie's head was really moving toward TCU."
Dixon, 50, had been under contract at Pittsburgh until 2023.
TCU will introduce its new coach at a Fort Worth news conference Tuesday. Athletic director Chris Del Conte tweeted "Look who's coming home" with a picture that included Dixon and his family with the athletic director and other TCU officials.
Dixon replaces Trent Johnson, who was fired a week ago with two years left on his contract. Johnson won only eight Big 12 Conference games and went 50-79 overall in his four seasons.
TCU is 8-64 in Big 12 games since moving to that conference, with the losses coming by an average margin of 15 points. TCU was 12-21 this season, 2-16 in conference games.
Dixon was 328-123 at Pitt. He led the Panthers to Big East Conference regular season titles in 2004 and 2011 before they moved to the Athletic Coast Conference three years ago. Pitt was 21-12 this season, and lost 47-43 to Wisconsin on Friday in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
The Panthers twice won 31 games and went to the Sweet 16 three times in Dixon's first six seasons. But they haven't gotten that far in the NCAA Tournament since 2009, when they made it to the Elite Eight, and were left out of the field in 2012 and 2015.
Dixon first arrived at Pittsburgh in 1999 as an assistant with Ben Howland, and was promoted to head coach when Howland left for UCLA. Before that, Dixon was an assistant coach at Hawaii, North Arizona, UC Santa Barbara and a junior college in Los Angeles.
Dixon was a four-year letterman for the Horned Frogs and as a senior was a starting guard for their last NCAA tourney victory. They beat Marshall in the first round of in 1987 before losing to Notre Dame.
He was inducted into the TCU Athletic Hall of Fame in 2007. He was a .451 career shooter on 3-pointers, which was the school record when he finished playing but is now tied for second-best for the Frogs.
The Frogs this season began playing in their new campus arena. The $72 million project was a complete renovation of the coliseum that was their home when Dixon was a player, including new locker rooms and team meeting rooms.
Their only senior this season was 6-foot-8 forward Devonta Abron, a former Arkansas transfer who started only six games after missing 2013-14 because of a torn Achilles tendon.
Junior guard Kenrich Williams missed the entire season after microfracture knee surgery. Their top scorers, all sophomores, were Chauncey Collins (12.3 points per game), Malique Trent (11.6 ppg) and Vladimir Brodziansky (9.7). Trent led the Big 12 with 2.1 steals per game.