Sources say the current head coach at Pittsburgh is the leading candidate to land the vacant head coaching spot at USC. Dixon, a Los Angeles native, has been the head coach at Pitt since 2003. He's led the Panthers to a 238-77 record in his nine years, marking his tenth with a 24-9 record -- but an early exit from the NCAA tournament when No. 8 Pitt fell 73-55 to No. 9 Wichita State.
After his team's first-round loss this week, Dixon was asked about his job status at Pitt, to which he responded "I just had my point guard break down here. That's the farthest thing from my mind."
Dixon was reportedly very interested in the USC job the last time the position was available, but the sanctions and unstable athletic department made it a risky move from Pitt. Not to mention, his crosstown rival would have been his mentor -- UCLA coach Ben Howland. None of these factors should be relevant this time around for Dixon -- incuding Howland, who is strongly rumored to be out at UCLA after the Bruins exit the NCAA tournament.
There is a lofty buyout situation to get Dixon away from Pitt, but sources say there have been USC boosters lined up for some time now to buy Dixon's way to the Galen Center.
JOSH PASTNER, current Memphis head coach
The current head coach of the Memphis Tigers, sources say Pastner is certainly in the running for the Trojans' gig and is as interested in the move to L.A. as USC is in having him.
Pastner is no stranger to the Pac-12, playing at Arizona before joining the Wildcats staff as assistant from 2002-2008. He moved to Memphis as an assistant for a season being named the head coach. In three seasons at the helm of the Tigers' program, Pastner has led his team to a 75-29 record -- they are 31-4 in in his fourth year and have advanced past the first round of the NCAA tournament.
The 36-year old is highly touted as a strong recruiter and would undoubtedly work to build a fence around the fertile basketball recruiting grounds of Southern California.
Mike Hopkins, current Syracuse associate head coach
Syracuse associate head coach Mike Hopkins is the coach-in-waiting for the Orange -- waiting for the day Jim Boehim retires. But could a move out West be a better option for Hopkins?
Sources say the Orange's 15th-year assistant has already met with USC athletic director Pat Haden.
Hopkins is no stranger to Southern California – he was born in San Mateo and attended Mater Dei High School, where he played on the 1987 state team. Fast-forward to 2013 and Mater Dei is just one Southern California program rich with prospects.
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