Dixon, a career assistant steps into a head coaching job with a top 10 program, a program that captured the Big East championship last season and the past two seasons has been to the sweet sixteen in the NCAA Tournament.
After being spurned by Wake Forest head coach Skip Prosser, it appears
that Pitt took the easy way out.
Hiring Dixon was a popular move with the Pitt players and it appeased
the Pitt recruits. If the move was made for those reasons? They are the
wrong reasons. Much ado was made about Pitt's heralded recruiting class
and their dismay when Ben Howland left for UCLA. The fact of the matter
is that those recruits were locked in at Pitt and if they wanted to
leave it would cost them possibly one or two years to transfer to
There is no question that Dixon a longtime Howland assistant is a
talented young guy, but the Pitt program is not in the shambles it was
in when the Panthers took a chance on Ben Howland four-years ago.
Dixon hasn't paid his dues as a head coach yet and he is handed a Big
East coaching job. Dixon was interviewed for coaching jobs at what would
be considered head coaching entry level positions at Texas El Paso,
Wright State and Illinois State and was passed over for those jobs.
Pitt said it was conducting a national search for its opening, but the
Pitt contingent went to New Orleans for the Final Four and really met
with only two candidates. You have every coach in America at the Final
Four and that is the extent of your coaching search? That doesn't make
any sense. The fact of the matter is that I can think of at least eight
head coaches who probably should have been contacted about the Pitt job.
Sonny Vacarro the adidas shoe representative who was so instrumental in
bringing Ben Howland to Pitt and has been wrongful vilified after
Howland left said it best: "The Pitt job is an attractive job after what
Howland has done. They should be able to attract a top-notch young head
coach. If they screw this up it is their own fault."
Pitt's interim athletic director Marc Boehm acknowledged the chance that
Pitt is taking with Dixon.
"It is a hell of a gamble," he said.
It should not have been a gamble for Pitt; it should have been a
George Von Benko
Pitt Takes a Big Gamble
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