Jamie Dixon is leaving Pittsburgh after 13 years to become the new head coach at TCU, his alma mater, according to CBSSports. The interest between the two parties was first reported by CBS’ Gary Parrish and the news appears to now be official. Dixon played for the Horned Frogs from 1984-1987 before getting his coaching career started in 1989.
TCU fired previous head coach Trent Johnson on March 13th after his third losing season in four years. The Horned Frogs have been stuck at the bottom of the Big 12 since joining before the 2012-13 season, but the hiring of Dixon may provide the spark the program needs to be competitive.
Dixon had success at Pitt, taking the Panthers to 11 NCAA Tournaments during his 13-year tenure and advancing to at least the Sweet Sixteen three times. His Panthers also won the CBI in 2012. Dixon twice won the Big East regular season title, but since the Pitt joined the ACC in 2013 has not fared quite as well. Dixon is leaving Pitt after a second straight 9th place finish in the ACC.
TCU had twice hired head coaches during Dixon’s tenure Pittsburgh, but this time around it is apparent that Dixon was looking for a change in scenery. The opportunity to take on a new challenge and turn things around at his alma mater was enough to pull Dixon away from a great Pittsburgh job.
Dixon faces an uphill battle at TCU and the Big 12 will be a decidedly different landscape than the Big East and ACC he’s familiar with. With Kansas (quite literally) winning the conference every year, other Big 12 teams do their best to jockey for the positions behind the Jayhawks. Recruiting the state of Texas will be of the utmost importance and although Dixon is an alum, the coach hasn’t called Texas home since he left college in 1987. Filling out his staff with strong recruiters and Texas ties should be his first order of business.
The Longhorns look to be in a resurgence behind young, energetic head coach Shaka Smart and the state is even more competitive with Baylor, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, SMU and Houston all playing good basketball. Dixon will have his hands full recruiting against Smart, Scott Drew, Billy Kennedy and Kelvin Sampson, not to mention the state’s two former National Champion head coaches Tubby Smith and Larry Brown.
The TCU job has not been very attractive in the past, but having a successful coach like Dixon as an alum was their best chance at a home-run hire. Now that they’ve got their guy, it will be interesting to see where TCU can go in this new era.