In the 8 hours since Jamie Dixon left Pitt to become the new men’s basketball coach at Texas Christian University, I have had about a thousand different thoughts/opinions/proclamations run through my mind. So here they are in no particular order:

-In three years Jamie Dixon will have wished he never left Pitt.

-In three years Pitt fans will have wished that Dixon never left.

-Before the start of the 2019-2020 season, Dixon will still be at TCU. I’m less sure about whoever Pitt hires to replace Dixon here.

-If Pitt hires Sean or Archie Miller, I will retract those previous two statements.

-Pitt will not be able to hire Sean or Archie Miller.

-Apparently, if Pitt fans have their way, no one who hasn’t coached in, played in, or was born/lived in the 412 or 724 area codes should be considered a candidate to replace Dixon. I even heard a guy call a talk show and suggest Billy Knight. For the record Billy Knight is 63 and has never coached.

-That being said. If Dan Burt’s Lady Dukes had beaten UCONN, I would’ve demanded Pitt hire him. Or maybe they should just consider having Susie McConnell Serio coach both the men’s and women’s teams at the same time. Progress people. Progress. And it is cost effective.

-For those who really do want to consider a women’s coach for the sake of optics, please…I beg you, do look at those two before you even say Geno Auriemma. At least they want to coach basketball. Geno wants to run Geno’s program Geno’s way. And having Geno coach a men’s team at this stage of his life would be the worst coaching experiment since Notre Dame hired Gerry Faust. Talk Sal Busacaglia out of retirement before hiring that guy.

-In terms of flat out length, Dixon’s run is underrated. The Penguins/Pirates/Steelers/& Pitt football have had a combined 18 coaches during in his 13 years on the Pitt bench.


-If Pitt beats Villanova in the ‘09 Elite Eight, you aren’t reading this column.

-I don’t think Scott Barnes wanted Jamie out. But I don’t think he’s torn to pieces over the fact that he is gone either. Similarly, I’m not of the opinion that Dixon distrusted Barnes. But I don’t think Jamie felt secure either. So there you go.

-From a contractual standpoint…Jamie should’ve felt secure.


-The Barnes/Dixon dynamic was starting to get weird quickly though. Not too long ago Barnes came on our show and stated that he wanted to see a better pre-conference schedule for the hoops team. A few days later, Dixon fervently defended his scheduling on a podcast with Also, I distinctly remember the press conference after that double OT win at home vs Wake Forest this year in front of half full house. Barnes looked disgusted. And Jamie bounded in like they had just gone to the Final 4. Dixon cherished every win. And good for him. Winning is hard. But he never seemed to grasp that while on the score sheet every win counts the same, the public disagrees. And I think his bosses did too.

-Consider this quote from Dixon on that front- “If you believe you should win every game, I don’t fault people for being disappointed when we lose.” No one believed you should win every game, Jamie. You made that up in your own head. They did, however, have a right to expect more than one NCAA tournament win in the last five years.

-The Pitt program was stagnant under Dixon. Recruiting was fading. Attendance was dropping. The team was elite for a while. Just consistently OK of late. Getting into the NCAA tournament 11 of that last 13 years is filthy. Syracuse can’t make that claim. Nether can UCONN. Or Indiana. Or Georgetown. But mainly Dixon’s teams lacked an exclamation point in March Madness. They never made a run beyond where the fan base expected them to go. They were taken out by lesser seeds five times. And they never pulled off an upset of significance. That can go a long way towards quelling fan complaints. Sometimes the teams that overachieve do more to cement your legacy than the ones that are supposed to win. Ask some of the coaches from that list above.

-Don’t diminish the allure of coaching at your alma mater. I believe that from Jamie. But I also believe that he no longer felt appreciated here any more for the reasons stated in the previous paragraph. Winning less, but having each win feel like a greater accomplishment at TCU than at Pitt may make Dixon happier at this stage in his life.

-The move to the ACC seems to have hurt the program from a style and recruiting standpoint. Let alone a level of identity from its fans. I’m pretty sure a lot of ND, Syracuse, Louisville, & BC fans would say the same.

-Jamie’s relationship with the media is the most strange one that I’ve ever covered. He was accessible. He’d do your talk show. He’d give you a one on one after a presser. He genuinely appreciated your effort to cover his team. Sincerely. That’s rare for a coach of his standing. I like Jamie on a personal level. A lot. It’s tough to find a media person who thought he was a bad guy. But at the same time, oddly, it’s also tough to find one that really enjoyed the process of covering Jamie. While he was always up to do the interviews, they often came off as defensive. He tried to find an underlying negative intent to any question, even if such an angle never existed. And that interaction translated to the fans who eventually seemed to tire of Jamie’s perceived excuses for their criticism. Often, Jamie’s reasoning was valid. But so were the opinions of a fan base that was justified in feeling stuck in the mud.


-How should the Dixon era be remembered? Positively. It was far more good than bad. And the program was is in tatters when he and Ben Howland got here.

-How should the Dixon era be remembered? Unfulfilled. It never got over the hump.

-Is that an eternal yin and yang that will never be resolved? I don’t know. Ask Walt Harris.

Posted in College Sports