Jamie Dixon Named TCU Basketball Head Coach: Contract Info, Comments, Reaction

Joseph ZuckerFeatured Columnist

Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon watches the final moments of a first-round men's college basketball game against Wisconsin in the NCAA Tournament, Friday, March 18, 2016, in St. Louis. Wisconsin won 47-43. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

The TCU Horned Frogs hired Pittsburgh Panthers head coach Jamie Dixon on Monday, as originally reported by CBS Sports' Jon Rothstein and ESPN's Jeff Goodman.

"I love Pitt, I love Pittsburgh and I always will," Dixon told Paul Zeise of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, confirming the move. "The fans loved me and my family. I was 17 years at Pitt, that is a long, long time in today's game. TCU was a great opportunity for me to get a fresh start."

TCU athletic director Chris Del Conte shared a picture of Dixon after he arrived on campus: 

TCU relayed Dixon's quotes from his press conference Tuesday:

Dixon has spent the last 13 years at Pitt, compiling a 328-123 overall record. The Panthers' ascension began under Ben Howland, who took the school to the Sweet 16 in 2002 and 2003. During Dixon's tenure, they've been a fixture in the Big Dance, making 11 appearances.

TCU, meanwhile, hasn't reached the NCAA tournament since exiting in the first round in 1997-98. 

While many would consider moving to the Horned Frogs a drop in prestige for the 50-year-old, he has ties to the school. He graduated from TCU and played for the basketball team from 1984 to 1987. Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv also reported TCU is willing to throw a lot of money his way:

Dixon's total compensation for 2014 was $3.2 million—$1.4 million in base pay, with $1.7 million in incentives—per tax documents obtained by Sam Werner of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Pittsburgh athletic director Scott Barnes confirmed to the Pitt News' Dan Sostek that Dixon had a buyout and that the school "softened" it to release Dixon to the Horned Frogs.

"A new era in Pitt basketball begins, earnestly," Barnes told Sostek.

Vice Sports' Kevin Trahan said financial power could help TCU and others bridge the gap between themselves and the college basketball elite:

One could argue the Panthers stagnated a bit in Dixon's final few years. They failed to advance past the round of 32 in their past five NCAA tournament appearances. With that said, the Horned Frogs couldn't have found a better hire to potentially take them to national prominence.

Never in Dixon's 13 years did Pitt finish with a losing record. During the same time frame, TCU posted just three winning seasons.

While the success of the football program has put pressure on the basketball team to win, the athletic department will also hope Dixon's arrival will get the fanbase on board and fill Ed and Rae Schollmaier Arena, which recently received a $72 million renovation.

It's likely the Horned Frogs' top seven scorers all will return, so between getting Dixon and the talent coming back to the team, TCU could take big steps forward in 2016-17. Earning an NCAA tournament berth might not be an unrealistic expectation.

For Pitt, replacing Dixon won't be easy. Chris Dokish of the blog Panther's Prey threw out three names the school should pursue:

CBSSports.com's Sam Vecenie wondered if Barnes might make use of his experience out West:

The Panthers could be in a difficult position. While they play in one of the country's top conferences—the ACC—they aren't considered a major college basketball power. ESPN.com's Jeff Borzello also thinks the ACC's strength might work against Pitt:

The cupboard won't be bare for Dixon's successor despite Pitt's 2016 recruiting class sitting 77th in 247Sports' composite rankings. Forwards Michael Young, Jamel Artis and Sheldon Jeter, who accounted for 38.2 points and 16.5 rebounds per game, are all juniors. Losing senior guard James Robinson will leave a hole in the backcourt, though.

In the event the school is unable to lure a big name such as Arizona's Sean Miller or Xavier's Chris Mack, it could end up gambling on a coach who hasn't been tested on the kind of stage Pittsburgh will provide.

While there's every chance a new coach can reinvigorate the program, a return to the pre-Howland years is equally possible.