Would Jamie Dixon Leave the Pitt Panthers? Weighing the Pros and Cons

Jonathan WeinbergCorrespondent IMarch 26, 2010

NEW YORK - MARCH 11: Head coach Jamie Dixon of the Pittsburgh Panthers yells from the bench against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish during the quarterfinal of the 2010 NCAA Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden on March 11, 2010 in New York City.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

The Pitt Panthers are now five days removed from a crushing defeat at the hands of Xavier, ending their season in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

In the days since, Jamie Dixon's name has already been linked to two head coaching vacancies, Oregon and DePaul.

The general vibe around Pittsburgh is that given the right opportunity, Dixon will flee for greener pastures. Pittsburghers are basing this on nothing but recent history; Walt Harris left Pitt to coach at Stanford, and Ben Howland left for UCLA.

Putting myself in Dixon's shoes, the first thing I would do is weigh the pros and cons of a life-changing decision.

So, I did...



Bob Huggins went home to West Virginia, Ben Howland to California, and Roy Williams to North Carolina.

The point being, coaches are nostalgic.

California is where Dixon was raised and where his parents still reside.

When he wakes up for practice to eight-degree weather and six inches of snow on the ground, can you blame him for thinking about what life would be like in sunny California?

2. Depending on how much you follow college basketball, this may come as a shock, but Pitt is not a top-tier program that lands top talent.

In the Dixon era, Sam Young and DeJuan Blair are Pitt’s highest NBA draft picks, and they were picked in the second round.

If Jamie wants to coach a John Wall, Tyler Hansbrough, or Cole Aldrich, he is going to need to move to a bigger program.

3. Rumors are circulating that Pitt may move to the Big Ten, and Dixon has been as outspoken as anyone in his belief that a move would only be detrimental to the basketball program.

As he said, "I can't see how moving from the best conference in college basketball history would be a good thing for anybody."



1. Currently in place is the deepest and most talented team Pitt's had in the Jamie Dixon era.

They are losing only one starter in Jermaine Dixon and returning seven players that averaged at least 10 minutes per game.

Next season's team is going to be a preseason top 10 and a legitimate Final Four contender. Why leave now?

2. Dixon has one of the cushiest jobs in all of sports.

Firstly, he makes over $1 million per year in a city that was voted most livable in the country.

Secondly, Dixon's Panthers have half the expectations of a school like UCLA or Duke.

As long as Pitt makes the tourney, Pittsburghers remain happy.

3. He has nowhere to go.

Taking the Oregon or DePaul job would be moving laterally.

College basketball coaches, depending on their success, move either up or down. Why leave to revive a program that's on the same level as Pitt?

DePaul and Oregon generally don't land better recruits than Pitt. If he chooses to leave, it will be to move up.

When you break things down, the pros of staying outweigh the cons. If he stays an additional season and Pitt makes the Final Four, he could have any open job in America.

What if John Calipari goes to the NBA? How about if Jim Calhoun retires? Maybe Rick Barnes gets canned?

Lastly, if he was going to leave, he would have left after the ‘09 season, when the team lost Blair, Young, and Levance Fields.

This past season, the Panthers were predicted to finish ninth in the Big East. Why stay through what was supposed to be a down season only to leave when things are looking brighter than ever before?

There is no good answer to that question, and that’s why when next season comes around, you will see him and his impeccable hair pacing the Pitt sidelines.


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