Dixon Mid-Season Coach Of Year

University of Pittsburgh Head Basketball Coach Jamie Dixon has been named the mid-season winner for the Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year Award.

Named after legendary Mount St. Mary's head coach Jim Phelan, who won more than 800 games and coached in more contests than anyone in college basketball history, the award is presented annually to the top coach in America by CollegeInsider.com. The honor is voted upon by a distinguished group of coaches, media members and athletic administrators. This season's winner will be announced at the Final Four in Detroit.

"Jamie is a very deserving winner,'' Phelan said. "Every season, his teams have been among the best in the Big East, and this season is no exception. The Panthers are a confident, strong and well-coached team.''

Dixon finished with 56 points and six first-place votes, as numerous other coaches received votes for the top spot. However, he was more than 20 points ahead of second-place Tubby Smith from Minnesota. And only three other coaches -- Oliver Purnell from Clemson, Dino Gaudio from Wake Forest and Jeff Capel from Oklahoma -- received at least two first-place votes.

The perfect 14-0 start by Pittsburgh includes wins on a neutral court against Texas Tech and Washington State, as well as road wins against Florida State, Rutgers and Georgetown. The win at Georgetown ended the Hoyas' 29-game home-court win streak and propelled Pitt to the first No. 1 ranking in the program's history.

Now in his sixth season as head coach at Pitt, Dixon has compiled a 146-40 overall record and led the program to two Big East Championships with the 2003-04 regular-season title and 2008 Tournament championship. He became the first head coach in school history to guide Pitt to five consecutive 20-win seasons, 10-plus win Big East regular seasons and five straight NCAA Tournaments.

Dixon has also directed the program to two NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearances (2004 and 2007). His 132 victories after his first five years as head coach rank as the third most wins after five seasons as a head coach in the history of NCAA Division I college basketball.

Dixon has also been appointed as the Big East representative on the National Association of Basketball Coaches NCAA Division I Congress. The NABC Congress acts as a medium between the NABC and the conference coaches. His role is to help make decisions on what is best for collegiate basketball.

At 14-0 and 2-0 in the Big East, Pitt remains one of only four undefeated teams at the NCAA Division I level. The other schools include Clemson (14-0), Illinois State (14-0) and Wake Forest (13-0). Pitt plays host to St. John's Sunday at noon at the Petersen Events Center. The contest will be televised by ESPN on a regional basis.

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