Pitt Basketball

Long Time Coming

Jamie Dixon is a great coach.  Probably one of the best the school has ever seen, and there’s no denying that.  But last Monday when he was offered and accepted a buyout to become the head coach at Texas Christian University, his alma mater, it was nothing short of relieving.

I get it.  He was 328-123 in his 13 seasons at Pitt.  That’s a .727 winning percentage that also resulted in two Sweet Sixteen appearances and an Elite Eight appearance.  He lost double digit games in only five seasons with Pitt and turned the Pete a place that no opposing team ever wanted to step foot in with their outstanding home record.  But when you look at his resume, it’s hard not to notice all that Pitt didn’t accomplish under him and it seems clear that a change was desperately needed.

Here is a quick look at his records and postseason results as the Head Coach of the Panthers.

Season                                                Record                                                 Postseason

2003-04                                               31-5                                                     Sweet Sixteen

2004-05                                               20-9                                                     First Round

2005-06                                               25-8                                                     Second Round

2006-07                                               29-8                                                     Sweet Sixteen

2007-08                                               27-10                                                   Second Round

2008-09                                               31-5                                                     Elite Eight

2009-10                                               25-9                                                     Second Round

2010-11                                               28-6                                                     Third Round

2011-12                                               22-17                                                   CBI Champs

2012-13                                               24-9                                                     Second Round

2013-14                                               26-10                                                   Third Round

2014-15                                               19-15                                                   NIT First Round

2015-16                                               21-12                                                   First Round

*2013-14 was Pitt’s first season in the ACC

On the surface, it looks like Jamie Dixon led the Panther’s on a great 13 year run and turned them into one of the top teams in their conferences.  But digging deeper you realize that Pitt has been underachieving for far too long and things just were not getting better with Dixon at the helm.  Pitt has not been a relevant or talked about team now for about 7 seasons, dating back to the 2008-09 season when they made the Elite Eight.  And what stands out the most is the fact that the Panthers have missed the tournament two of the last five seasons and barely made it this year.

Another thing that Pitt has been notorious for under Dixon is playing down to their competition.  This was true this year, as they lost games to Virginia Tech, Georgia Tech, Clemson and NC State.  Not to mention a close 2OT win to a terrible Wake Forest team and a horrid 43 point showing in their loss to Wisconsin in the NCAA Tournament.  And lets not forget the 2011-12 season where the Panthers absolutely destroyed what was one of the nations best home records for their arena.  That year alone they lost 9 home games.  They started out 0-7 in Big East play and had losses to DePaul, Rutgers, Wagner, Long Beach State and South Florida (twice).  Although they won the CBI (which is basically the NCAA Tournament for teams ranked worse than 100 in the nation), it doesn’t seem like much of an accomplishment, considering they played teams that I didn’t even know had Division 1 programs.

But away from the statistics, the relationship between Jamie Dixon and Pitt basketball just wasn’t what it seemed.  Pitt was going nowhere fast and if Jamie Dixon were to continue being the coach of the Panthers, it would just be the same old story over and over and over again.  Between the issues he has bringing in top recruits and getting his team far into the NCAA Tournament, a change was on the horizon and everyone knew it.  Over the years, more and more people have been calling for Jamie Dixon’s job and I just think that with the talent that they showed and the poor level that they played at this year was just too much for either side to handle.

Jamie Dixon is now in a great spot for himself and will now doubt make TCU a much better team than they have been over the years.  As for Pitt, the hiring of Kevin Stallings from Vanderbilt on Sunday morning raises many questions that I will be discussing in my next article coming out within the next few days.

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