Reports: Pitt's Jamie Dixon considering head coaching job at TCU
March 20, 2016 9:13 PM
Pitt head coach Jamie Dixon talks to the press on Thursday before Pitt faced Wisconsin in the NCAA tournament at Scottrade Center in St. Louis. According to CBS Sports, Dixon is being considered for the head coach position at TCU, his alma mater.
By Paul Zeise / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Pitt coach Jamie Dixon is tied to another job opening. This time: TCU, his alma mater.
The Fort Worth Star Telegram reported late Sunday night that Dixon and TCU were closing in on a deal to make Dixon the Horned Frogs’ new basketball coach. According to the report, Dixon was trying to piece together a staff with Texas ties.
Dixon did not return phone calls Sunday night and Pitt athletic director Scott Barnes did not respond to text messages.
A Pitt athletic department spokesman released a statement Sunday night, saying: “It is our practice to not make statements regarding other institutions’ coaching searches. So we will respectfully decline comment.”
Several people around the department and others who know Dixon said he has a good relationship with TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte, and that has resulted in some discussions between the two, though some were skeptical if Dixon was seriously considering the offer.
Dixon was instrumental in reaching out to Del Conte and getting TCU into the Big East Conference in 2011, but the league then fell apart and TCU found a home in the Big 12.
Gary Parrish of CBS Sports first reported there was mutual interest between Dixon and TCU.
Dixon’s ability to seek other jobs is limited, though, by his contract with Pitt, which runs through 2023 and has a buyout that is believed to be in the $10 million range. Dixon makes about $3.2 million per year, according to tax documents the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette obtained in May 2015.
That would mean in order to sign him to a similar deal — five years is a typical length for a contract — TCU would have to pay, between the contract and buyout, about $26 million.
But Parrish, citing sources, wrote that money will not be an obstacle for TCU and that they will pony up to hire Dixon and make sure he doesn’t take less money.
The position at Pitt also is different than the one he took in 2003 because the Panthers are in the ACC not the Big East and he has admitted that the transition has been a little tougher and taken a little longer than he first anticipated.
Still, one source close to the situation said that while Dixon “hears and reads what people are saying,” the source believed it is “unlikely” Dixon is going to take the job, considering what Dixon has built at Pitt and what it would take to be competitive in Fort Worth.
TCU fired Trent Johnson after four seasons in which he was 50-79 overall and 8-64 in Big 12 games, which is the lowest winning percentage for a coach (.111 in conference games) in conference history. The Horned Frogs also have not made it to the NCAA tournament since 1998 and have played in the tournament only seven times in their history.
Dixon played at TCU from 1984-87.
Paul Zeise: email@example.com and Twitter @paulzeise.
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