Jamie Dixon puts end to speculation concerning his future, as Pitt coach signs 10-year contract to stay in Steel City through 2022-23 season. (Photo courtesy of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)
The Pittsburgh Panthers may have a new home in terms of their conference affiliation, but their head coach is not going anywhere.
Jamie Dixon, who had been the subject of several rumors following Pitt's NCAA Tournament elimination at the hands of Wichita State Thursday afternoon, silenced the chatter moments ago when it was announced that he had signed a ten-year contract to remain at the helm of the Panthers through the 2022-23 season. The contract signing, which was broken by ESPN's Andy Katz, puts to rest the speculation that Dixon would return to his Southern California home to potentially take over as the new coach at USC, who fired Kevin O'Neill in January and are not expected to retain interim coach Bob Cantu.
"Pitt and Pittsburgh are home," said Dixon, who will join the Panthers in the Atlantic Coast Conference next season. "My family and I feel blessed to be part of such a great institution and a wonderful city."
Elevated to the head coach position in 2003 after Ben Howland, under whom Dixon had served as associate head coach before he was hired at UCLA, the 47-year-old Dixon is 262-86 in his ten seasons at the helm in the Steel City. His .753 winning percentage is the highest in program history despite never advancing to a Final Four, as the 2009 Elite Eight appearance remains the most successful NCAA Tournament run under Dixon's watch, with a Scottie Reynolds runner sending Villanova to the national semifinals at the Panthers' expense.
With Dixon now out of the picture for the USC opening, the Trojans will now set their sights on other candidates, with Memphis coach Josh Pastner and perhaps even St. John's coach Steve Lavin among the names at the top of Southern Cal athletic director Pat Haden's list. Should Lavin decide to leave Queens, Iona coach Tim Cluess; who has already been linked to the vacancy at Hofstra, could be in play for the Red Storm.