Thursday, March 21, 2013

Dixon does have strong interest in USC job

The same very close Jamie Dixon confidante that tells me every year that Dixon is going nowhere, texted me late last night with the sentence "this time he could go".

When I asked if it was it "the ACC thing? His dad? Money? All of the above?", he replied with "What did you leave out? Declining attendance, etc.".  I then asked if Pitt was considered a great job in college basketball and he said "Good/very good job...not great".  This is in line with what others in the college basketball world have told me.

I asked if Ben Howland or Sean Miller would be interested.  He replied "Howland would have to under the situation.  I hear Miller wants no part of it".  Later he said "I hear Miller isn't too excited about it".  I still think Miller and his family want to move back east, and there's always an outside chance, but I appear to be the only one that thinks that.

He then went on to say "you end up with a (Robert Morris head coach Andy) Toole or a (Bucknell head coach Dave" Paulsen type".  Then he said a "Herb Sendek type" or Seth Greenberg type".  Notice he said type, and not those actual coaches.  Meaning a young hotshot from a smaller program or a good, but not high profile, veteran.

Bottom line, Dixon leaving is a very real possibility this time, and the only real slam dunk choice to replace him may be Howland, though you never know when you will hit the jackpot with a young up and comer.  And let's not forget that even somebody this close to Dixon doesn't know everything in his his head. But the chance that it could happen is very real this time.

131 comments:

  1. If this is true and he is somewhat leaning towards leaving, I look for a loss today. Unbelievable.

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  2. If Dixon leaves, then so be it. I really don't buy the whole Howland getting whacked at UCLA in the first place, he lost his second best player in the win over UA and UCLA didn't look the same against Oregon the next night. The fact that they still got a six seed after losing the Oregon, which ended up with a 12 seed, should tell you something. I doubt Howland is going anywhere, and if that's the case, neither is Dixon.

    I also don't buy Miller wouldn't be interested in coming back to Pitt. A lot of insiders basically hear the same rumors that eventually lak to the media, any coach under contract that has his team in the NCAA tournament right now is not going to reveal whether they have any interest in another job. If you want proof of that, look what happened to Pitt in the tournament when it was pretty well known that Howland as leaving. Those kids didn't have any respect for him and quit on him, Zavackas even went as far as taking his shoes off when he came out of the game in the seond half of their loss against Marquette.

    I would say it's probably about a 95% chance Dixon is still at Pitt at the start of next season.

    Mike W.

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  3. Chris,

    I enjoy your blog, but sometimes your writing is confusing. In this post the sentence "I then asked if it was considered a great job in college basketball..." - are you referring to the Pitt job or the USC job? I'm guessing you mean the Pitt job, but it's not entirely clear.

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  4. It is becoming more and more clear to me that (deserved or not) Pitt Bball and Football are perceived as good but not great jobs(maybe not second rate, but definitely not top notch), where basically no coach believes they can build and maintain a perenial NC contender. This is obviously frusterating (and not what I want to hear or belive), but maybe it is time I faced reality (i.e., the best Pitt can hope to do in hoops is contending for a NCAA berth and winning a game or two year in and year out, and the best they can hope to do in football is 8-9 wins and a decent, non-BCS bowl).

    I also recognize that there are only a handful of schools in the country that can legitimately say that they hope to contend for a NC in football or hoops year in and year out. That being said, I always hoped that one day Pitt might get to (and maintain) that level in one or both sports. Doesn't seem realistic. Either way, very deflating and demoralizing as a fan.

    Doke- do you think that if Dixon leaves Adams is as good as gone? That would be my guess.

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    Replies
    1. That worries me as well.....but he needs another year and he can't transfer to USC and sit out a year. I'm also worried about Newkirk & Young even more.

      I hope a loss today doesn't happen and move Dixon to seek a change of scenery and recruiting base...interesting days ahead...

      Delete
  5. Why would this come out now? An hour or two before the first game of the NCAA tourney. Is it ploy to get more money from Pitt? If so, what a terrible way (distraction) to do this before first game. With the article in the Post. I find this as leverage and huge distraction and bad business if that is the case.

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    Replies
    1. It's only come out now because USC is only after him now.

      Delete
    2. The PG article is pretty damn thin to give basis to speculation. These rumors happen every year, and every year Dixon stays. I would have to think he's smart enough to realize that had Pitt not joined the ACC, his position in what's left of the Big East would be far worse, so I can't see going to the ACC being a reason he would leave.

      Family reasons I would believe, but those reasons have existed for years and he still stayed at Pitt. Attendance declining? Since when? Dixon has used these rumors every year to get a bump in salary; as a matter of fact, it's pretty much written into his contract that he will be the highest paid coach at the university, so quite honestly all that will happen from this is that Dixon will get another raise.

      The administration will not want to go into a new league with their main program in a state of flux or transition, Dixon isn't going anywhere.

      Mike W.

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    3. People are continuing to misunderstand this ACC thing. It's not like Dixon is mad that Pitt is in the ACC. What is effecting him is that he built Pitt for the Big East. Pitt has a certain brand. When you think of Pitt you think tough Big East team. But in the ACC he has to change that brand and if he has to start back at square one he may as go somewhere will it will be easier and is his home. I reported this at the time that Pitt joined the ACC and it's been reporting by many different people since then.

      Delete
    4. I agree with you on that point. Dixon has, when the talent was available on his roster, been able to play a more up-tempo game, even in the Big East. The 08-09 team was a perfect example of that, and quite honestly, he did have some down recruiting years which have hurt his program in the last two years.

      Having said that, with Dixon's ability to adjust as mentioned above and the higher profile of the ACC, he should be able to recruit the players needed. He and Howland essentially ran an up-tempo, three-point shooting offense at Northern Arizona before coming to Pitt; Howland adjusted his philosophy based on what talent he had at Pitt and what type of players he could bring in based on the league. Dixon should be able to do the same thing; if he can't, I can't see why another prgram would be interested.

      Mike W.

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    5. Dixon is the most over-rated coach in college basketball. Between his constant post-season failures and terrible OOC schedule, Pitt will be screwed next year if they are anywhere near the bubble. Where are the 8-seed complainers now? Actually, 8 was a terrible seed for Pitt. It was way too high. Dixon needs to go

      Delete
  6. What about the Creighton Coach McDermott, Pastner from Memphis, and Alford from New Mexico. I think they are on the level of a potential Pitt hire.

    If it does happen I wouldnt want to go the majors route and hire back Howland.

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    Replies
    1. Pastner already has a good gig and he would only go for something bigger than Pitt. Alford just signed a 10 year extension the other day and I could only see Pitt being interested in him if Alford somehow managed a favorable buyout in that contract. McDermott is a possibility but you have to wonder how much his son factored in to his recent success.

      Delete
    2. Albeit I like Miller... I don't see him leaving Arizona.
      I like Shaka Smart and Brad Stevens. Don't rule out Tommy Amaker of Harvard!!! Alford would be on my list also.
      Pitt makes a $6million profit on BB... they can afford to pay big bucks... 2.5million now with the ACC deal.

      And to those Pitt homers... enough with those with Pitt connections or retreads... Antigua, Rice, Knight, Sendek, Greenberg or even Howland...

      I'm ok with Dixon leaving... Pitt needs someone to take Pitt to the next level and it isn't Dixon. As much as I dislike Zeise, he wrote a good piece on what Dixon needs to do... which I agree and have been saying all year. But Dixon won't change... so Pitt needs a change.

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    3. There's a better chance that you will be the head coach next year than Shaka Smart or Brad Stevens. And Tommy Amaker was barely over .500 at Seton Hall and Michigan so no thanks.

      Delete
    4. Pastner from Memphis signed a 5 yr extension I think last year... he makes 1.5million... I can see him making a leap from Cusa.

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    5. Judging by some of the postings on pantherlair and pittblather...
      It seems most don't care if Dixon leaves..
      Need a change... the program needs to step up.

      Dixon just made a stupid comment... "I thought we did well offensively... except for the turnovers".. wtf. That is part of the offense!!! and what about the poor shooting!!

      Delete
  7. I could tell he had an interest since he didn't dispel the rumors. At least he isn't lying through his teeth like that scumbag Howland did before he left.

    BTW....go Minnesota.

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  8. Someone said... Witchta v Pitt was going to be a foul fest.
    If it comes down to who has the most free throws in the game...
    Pitt will lose.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wichita took 41 foulshots and Pitt took 20.
      Wichita made 33 and Pitt made 16 which is good for Pitt.
      17 point difference just from the foul line!!

      Patterson and Woodall were horrible... nothing new there.

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    2. I absolutely won't apologize for Pitt's performance today...it was embarrassing. But, using Free Throw stats is completely ridiculous. We started fouling with 3 minutes left in the game. I'd be willing to bet that if you looked at the numbers before that last 3 minutes, they would be fairly even. But we fouled to get back in the game. This is a perfect example of why people on this blog can't stand you...

      Delete
    3. Anonymous...
      Not even close.... I was watching it from time to time.
      Halftime, Wichita has 7pt foul shot made advantage.

      Delete
  9. It's time for Jamie to leave. Good guy, best coach Pitt has had, but Pitt can't go further with him. He seems unable to coach up athletic players and no longer gets the tough guys he use to have. Good run, but time for someone new (just not anyone on the current staff nor Pederson's guy).

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  10. Bye Jamie-- take you and your same boring sets with you..high post screen, high post screen. walk the ball up the court-- boring......no wonder you get mediocre talent.. and Jamie you can't win in the acc with 5'10 guards... not going to happen...and one more thing another dud in the big dance...I picked Wichita to win-- that was a slam dunk

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    Replies
    1. Blowout game.... wow...
      1 and Done...
      Time for a change...

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    2. lose by 15 to Wich state- wow one for the ages...

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    3. This is such a poor performance. We look totally unprepared.

      I read somewhere that Howland and Pederson are close friends? I wonder if Pdrson s a reason if Dixon goes?

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    4. Dixon likes Pederson and Howland and Pederson are friendly as well.

      Delete
  11. Can someone please explain to me how trey Zeigler scored 1000 points in two seasons at central Michigan?

    I have come to another conclusion, if u have to red shirt in basketball in your frehsman year it is a pretty good sign that you are never going to amount to much of a player...

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    Replies
    1. Rich, I think all Dixon teams play tight. This team more tight than most. They are thinking too much and not playing loose. There is no excuse for Zeigler to play this poorly.

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  12. Dokes, it almost looked like this team was just going through the motions knowing their coach was heading out the door.

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  13. I agree that team just quit on him m today. They just flat out quit. Doke, I think you are right it is a whole new team next year sans Dixon and Adams.

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  14. bye Jamie, you wore it out.

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    Replies
    1. The bold move right now would be...
      for Pitt to fire Dixon... or ask him to resign.
      His time at Pitt is done...

      Delete
  15. Least favorite Pitt team in perhaps the entire Dixon regime, not because they lost today, but because they had so many games where they looked like they just didn't care. This junior class is a complete waste and should go down as the most underachieving class of the Howland/Dixon era.

    The reason I thought Dixon would leave for several weeks now is because of this complete lack of effort from his players. I think he has peaked here. It almost seems like his message isn't getting through anymore. Perhaps it's just this group, but they certainly quit on him today. The Syracuse game wasn't exactly the epitome of a great effort either. Sometimes change just comes naturally and I have to believe Dixon looks at this program and thinks he has probably taken it as far as he could or can.

    Good coach, great person - best of luck if he goes. Meanwhile, if Lamar, Talib, Trey, and JJM want to transfer out, I think most Pitt fans would be willing to oblige so we don't have to watch them waste their talent anymore

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  16. Don't look at me...I didn't do it...

    https://www.facebook.com/pages/Fire-Jamie-Dixon-Now/197027150329706

    Seriously though, I really hated to see Woodall go out that way...Taylor too. But I'm ready for a change....even if it means missing the Tournament for a few years. This is embarrassing and even worse IMO.

    Please USC.....please...

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    Replies
    1. Former players are tweeting...
      Wannamaker, Fields, Taft, McGhee....
      they are all shaking their heads in disgust in how the team plays... like not feeding Adams, no uptempo, etc.

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    3. Taft? TAFT!? That dude shouldn't say anything.

      And do you have the Twitter handles for these guys handy? I'd like to check them out.

      Delete
    4. Here is a link to an article listing Taft and Fields.
      From there... you can look at Wannamaker, McGhee, Gibbs.

      http://www.cbssports.com/collegebasketball/blog/eye-on-college-basketball/21925659/another-early-tourney-exit-for-pitt-jamie-dixon-job-speculation-can-begin

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  17. Pitt is what it is, incredibly mediocre in basketball and football.

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  18. Did any former players call out Dixon or are they siding with him and blaming the players? I put this loss on Dixon and Dixon alone.

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  19. Grass isn't always greener on the other side. Be careful on what you ask for. Remember, we have Steve Pederson as AD - nuff said. He is not exactly great on hiring. I am hoping Dixon stays.

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    Replies
    1. It you want status quo... Dixon is the man...

      If you want to step up to elite status or even say Top 10... there is lots of green grass to pick from in the form of coaches.

      Pitt is at the point to make a step up!!

      Delete
    2. The chances are that Pitt will go down, not up, without Dixon.

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    3. I don't think Pitt will go lower when you look at the past 2 years...
      Don't quote his record as Dixon non-conf schedule is BS!!
      The time is right to make a change.
      2013... 2 scholarships yet to give out.
      2014... 4 scholarships to give out..
      A new coach now can get the players he wants to fit his style of play...
      If you wait until after 2014... harder to change up the roster.

      Delete
  20. Did you see the pressor when Dixon was ask the question as to whether he would be back to Pitt next year...
    wow...
    Dixon didn't answer..
    Dixon practically started crying...
    The way the question was put... it was taken by Dixon that he would be fired by Pitt.. or at least that is how it came across to me.

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  21. Dokes, I have a friend in Pittsburg who just told me Adams is leaving for the bigs. Have you heard anything? I can 't imagine he is ready for that....

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    Replies
    1. He said after the game that he would be back but if Dixon leaves I can see him changing his mind.

      Delete
  22. If you listened to the postgame on the Fan, Jamie Dixon's response to Dejan's question on whether he will be back or not was rather telling in my opinion. There was just a long, awkward pause followed by a Dixon chuckle then another long, awkward pause, followed by Dixon deflecting the question to talk about Woodall. He never even approached an answer, even saying something like "I don't want to talk about next year right now after this loss" or something like that.

    More interesting to me, the next question that was asked was easily answered by Dixon like nothing. If he was so bothered to answer the Dejan question because he felt bad for Tra, the questions after that didn't seem to bother him. Odd.

    I think he is gone, assuming Howland is out as well. Grass isn't always greener and Pitt being Pitt, they'll find a way to screw this up, but it will be interesting if he does leave. I think Dixon got the program to go as far as he could. I don't know if there is someone else that can take it further.

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  23. Data dump re Pitt problems –

    So, Dixon is unhappy b/c he built a team for the Big East? Hard to tell given the most recent tournament performances.

    Anyway – shouldn’t he be building a team for the NCAAs?

    As for his complaint about ‘attendance’ – I think what you (or he) really means is enthusiasm. Well, if you constantly underperform, that’s what you get. So, no sympathy there. Don't get why he would want to jump into the soul-crushing pit of despair that is USC BBall -- he's going to learn a hard lesson if he does.

    (Andy Toole is an interesting name, but probably needs some apprentice time at a mid-major)

    Pitt’s FB and BB problems stem from something CD has said previously – they only have pretensions at excellence. The admin (and maybe the coaches) are unable or unwilling to do what it takes to truly compete with the top programs. And, when you are a wannabe it is going to cost you more to move up in class than if you are already there.

    RE Dixon and BB:

    The non-con sked is directly related to their bed-crapping performance in the tourney. They are not at all prepared for it. Look, the B East is (was) a great league, but league games are different. You are familiar with the coaches, teams and away arenas. You can get up for those games.

    The Dance is about playing unfamiliar teams in unfamiliar arenas against teams who you have no emotion for or against. The non-con sked is the chance to prepare for the totality of the season. You should scrimmage against a bunch of weaklings at home, but you need to have some games that mimic the Dance. Pitt needs to play one road game against a major program (unfamiliar coach, hostile arena), one neutral game (unfam coach, blah arena), and one ‘home’ game at Consol (unfam coach, favorable arena, but not so familiar). Those games get the coaches and players a bit of the kind of experience they need for the Dance – and can get some early season ESPN time.

    If Pitt insists on penny-pinching with its non-con, it will continue to pay in the Dance and lose fans -- that is NOT profitable. If SP has to kill the Duquesne game, then so be it. That thing isn’t helping anyone at this point.

    As for recruiting, if Pitt has to hire some AAU “consultants” that can help “inform” prospects about the “advantages” of becoming “student-athletes” at Pitt, then SP and JD need to crowbar open the checkbook and do it. To make it to the Final Four, Pitt needs the horses and the experience and right now it has neither and shows little interest in doing what it takes to get them.

    RE FB –

    Just briefly – pay the coaching staff.

    Pitt is not a poor school – they don’t have nearly the $$ problems that many programs have (Rutgers, Maryland, Colorado and on and on). The ACC may not pay as well as the other conferences, but it pays enough. Besides, Pitt is in a far better position than many of its neighbors: UCONN and Cincy are headed for sports oblivion. The Big 12 is a financial win for WVU, but is an on-field disaster in the making. Syracuse FB is reeling and who knows what happens after Boeheim leaves. Add to that the disaster that is BC, and you have an opportunity for Pitt to be one of the better programs in the ACC and northeast. But only if they have the will to do so.

    If SP & Co aren't willing to do what it takes to compete, then let us all know Pitt is going to be Vanderbilt and stop wasting everyone's time.

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  24. Why isn't the basketball program held to the same standard as the football program. If I recall, Wanny was left go because he couldn't win the big game. JD has been given ample time to win the big game and failed. am I missing something here?

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    Replies
    1. Jamie Dixon has won big games ie. conference titles, Top 10 teams, etc.
      His post season performance is what's spotty.

      The football equivalent would be Pitt contending for and winning conference titles in the SEC, but laying eggs in most of the bowl games.

      Conversely, the basketball equivalent to what Wannstedt did would be playing in a crappy hoops league like the Pac-12, still miss a post season tournament half the time, never finish higher than 4th place, and once make an appearance in the NIT title game.

      Delete
  25. First off, another heartless effort. I honestly think the NCAA tourney failures by Dixon make him tighter and tighter each year, and that that tightness rubs off on the players. They honestly looked scared and hesitant all day. Clearly quit with about 10 minutes left in the second half. Zero leadership and I say that is a reflection on Dixon. How you don't have your team emotionally and mentally prepared to play from the opening whistle is beyond me. I understand the players have to shoulder some blame, but Dixon is the one who recruited and coaches them.

    As for Dixon leaving, I heard from someone on the Rivals board (take that for what it is worth) that Dixon isn't flying back with the team and is heading to meet with Hayden and USC. Doke any insight on that one?

    I hope he leaves if they can hire the right person. And that's a big if given Peterson's recent track record with the fball team. In my opinion he got lucky with Howland. I would rather have someone who is a better recruiter than coach if you have to choose between the two. Talent will typically win out over coaching, in my opinion. I am all for making a run at Miller and opening up the pocket book. So what if you have to pay him 3-4 million, that's what 1-2 million more than Dixon. That kind of money should be nothing to a school like Pitt given the numerous benefits having a great bball program can bring to a school. If they hire a Seth Greenberg type (who I don't believe has ever done anything), then, in my opinion, we are headed for even more of a regression than the last two years.

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  26. After game Pressor...
    you be the judge of q&a of dixon..
    http://www.ncaa.com/menshighlights/video/basketball-men/2013-03-21/second-round-pittsburgh-post

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  27. First off, another heartless effort. I honestly think the NCAA tourney failures by Dixon make him tighter and tighter each year, and that that tightness rubs off on the players. They honestly looked scared and hesitant all day. Clearly quit with about 10 minutes left in the second half. Zero leadership and I say that is a reflection on Dixon. How you don't have your team emotionally and mentally prepared to play from the opening whistle is beyond me. I understand the players have to shoulder some blame, but Dixon is the one who recruited and coaches them.

    As for Dixon leaving, I heard from someone on the Rivals board (take that for what it is worth) that Dixon isn't flying back with the team and is heading to meet with Hayden and USC. Doke any insight on that one?

    I hope he leaves if they can hire the right person. And that's a big if given Peterson's recent track record with the fball team. In my opinion he got lucky with Howland. I would rather have someone who is a better recruiter than coach if you have to choose between the two. Talent will typically win out over coaching, in my opinion. I am all for making a run at Miller and opening up the pocket book. So what if you have to pay him 3-4 million, that's what 1-2 million more than Dixon. That kind of money should be nothing to a school like Pitt given the numerous benefits having a great bball program can bring to a school. If they hire a Seth Greenberg type (who I don't believe has ever done anything), then, in my opinion, we are headed for even more of a regression than the last two years.

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  28. After today, I'm thinking maybe it's time for a change.

    There's no shame in losing in a hard-fought battle to an equal opponent (ala, Villanova knocking us out in 2009). Then there's laying an egg, which the football team is almost famous for. Then there's, well, crapping the bed. Which is what happeneded today.

    No effort, no concern -- I'm sorry but that's on coaching. If the starting five players don't want to play, put in others that give a damn. Dixon was coaching as if this was some meaningless game at the Pete against some 300-RPI seed in November.

    What's up having all five TOs with 30 seconds left in the first half?? That only makes sense if Pitt is cruising! Which clearly we weren't. What's up with letting guys continue to heave up prayer shots from the Harlem Globetrotters' 4-point line?

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  29. well this was a bad loss and dissapointing,as far as Dixon leaving, I do not think he will go. However, the longer Dixon has been here the harder time he has had taking the negative things people have had to say. I think it is killing him not going past first round, but there are issues. still there is no one that can compete or challenge his regular season record or the stand -up type of guy he has been. When today's coaches are scum bags we have had a quality person where there are hard to find them

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  30. Chris

    Great info. I have 1 question.
    Why would Sean Miller not have any interest in the job if it opens up?
    Do you think it would have something to do with the AD?

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
  31. Pitt coaching jobs are mediocre because the university treats them that way. Pitt has everything it needs around it to make its football coaching job a top-20 position, except university will. The school simply doesn't compete with its football program the way, say, Louisville does. And that's a shame.

    No NBA team means Pitt basketball is THE basketball in W. Pa for fans. Selling out the Pete isn't hard if they're winning. Just like football, Pitt basketball COULD attract a top coach that could make the program big (see UConn before and after Jim Calhoun). Instead it'll do as it does with football and compete with MAC teams for coaches and players.

    In the end, Pitt has failed to capitalize more on the success of Howland and early-Dixon. And the way the ship is run there, don't be surprised if in three years Pitt athletics resemble their early-90's predecessors.

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  32. Chris

    Great info.

    Have a question. Why do you think Sean Miller would not have an interest in the job if it opens up?

    Do you think it has something to do with the AD?

    Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's because the Pitt job isn't as good.

      Delete
    2. Aside from university will and tradition, which can be built over time, Arizona doesn't have any other built-in advantages over Pitt in basketball. It's not like the state is producing dozens of McDonald's AA's growing up dreaming of playing Arizona bball. Their players come from all over, just like Pitt's. Not that geography matters as much in the sport. I'm not trying to trivialize Arizona's current advantages over Pitt. But if the job is elevated appropriately by the school, Pitt could be good enough for an alum or another high-profile coach if it wanted to be.

      Delete
    3. You're preaching to the choir.

      Delete
  33. How does pitt win so many games in the big east? These smaller non bcs schools seem to always have better players than pitt during the tourney. Makes you wonder how they get it done during the regular season. Is the big east over rated.

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  34. Is Dixon classy enough to sit Adams down and tell him that the best thing he could do would be to stay at Pitt another year or two, and that Pitt is sure to hire a very capable replacement? I would think so

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  35. Fittipaldo from the PG confirmed that Dixon was on the team charter back to Pittsburgh so the USC rumors for now are nothing. I would be surprised if anything takes place before the Howland situation is resolved. If UCLA loses today or tomorrow, then you may see some movement.

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  36. I'm ready for Dixon to move on. I don't care if they get a new coach and fail - I'd be more than happy to just tune out Pitt basketball completely than to get my hopes up every year.

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  37. look at Dixon's reg season record and Big East tourn. Were not getting anyone better, not to mention a solid guy.

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  38. I accept that Pitt is not a "great" job, but is USC even a "good" job?

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    Replies
    1. I don't accept that. The Pitt job could certainly be a great one if the university wants it to be. What do Syracuse or Louisville have over Pitt? Those universities made their jobs great. Arizona too.

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    2. Pitt is a top 20 job easily, I really don't get this it isn't a great job. The university fully supports the program, about the only draw acks you have are an urban campus and the local recruiting are isn't that great, hasn't seemed to a problem for the last 11 years.

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  39. What's so great about Arizona basketball? Have they been more successful than Pitt in recent years? Their conference isn't as good as the Big East or ACC.

    Hasn't Dixon always said he won't ever coach at a school where he has to coach against his friend Howland? It's no sure thing that Howland will get fired by UCLA.

    Also, as I recall Dixon was a great part of the success Howland enjoyed at Pitt. He was the top assistant and good recruiter too. I'm not so sure Howland would be successful at Pitt without Dixon.

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  40. I look for Steve Pederson to have his Mike Haywood moment in basketball and hire Larry Eustachy, who crashes and burns at a frat party within a couple of weeks, and then we get one of Bo Ryan's assistants as his replacement.

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  41. Harvard is a bracket buster....
    Seems Mountain west was over-rated... Unlv lost also.
    So much for all those computer rankings this year...

    Harvard lost 2 of their best players at beginning of season and still won Ivy league!!
    Tommy Amaker will be highly sought after.

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  42. I'm neither surprised nor disappointed by Pitt's loss because this is what Pitt is; a good regular season team that isn't built for doing well in the tourney.

    I believe Pitt has found its level under Dixon, which is being a good program, not a great one, built on defense and rebounding that continues to lack a go-to player who can impose his will on a game. It reminds me of Wanny who built teams on defense, but could never recruit a top-flight QB who could take over a game.

    If I were Pederson, I wouldn't make much effort to keep Dixon if he's interested in leaving. It might be best for all concerned if he moves on.

    ReplyDelete

  43. Seriously, why isn't the Pitt job a "great" job? It should be.

    Facilities? How often we hear great venues attract players? The Pete passes this test pretty easily.

    Atmosphere? The Zoo. ESPN seems to think it rates.

    Campus? What happened to the old notion that a lot of kids from "the City" prefer an urban campus over the sticks. It's not true for all kids, but has to still hold true for enough of them.

    OK, what else is there? Oh, there's the Coach and his coaching staff. Ahh, maybe there is a weakness here?

    Plain and simple, Jamie has never established himself as a "great" recruiter. Many think it's the style of basketball he plays. Top players just don't want to be relegated to Jamie Ball, at least that's what some say.

    And what about the assistants? A strong case can be made here that the current batch does not measure up to Jamie's assistants from the past in terms of both recruiting and teaching. At least on blogger here has pounded this home since last year's debacle of a year.

    The last variable that counts to Pitt basketball is what actually holds the key to the future if Jamie does indeed decide to move on.

    Time for Pitt administrators to step up and commit to hiring the right coach for what should be a "great" college baskeball job.

    They owe it to the alum given the irreversible step they took some years ago to risk the future of Pitt football by wrecking Pitt Stadium and, instead of building a new stadium in its place, replacing it with a monument to a basketball future yet unfulfilled.

    PittofDreams

    ReplyDelete
  44. Why in the world would Miller want no part of the Pitt job?

    He wants to coach in the ACC and wants out of the Arizona job. His flirtation with Maryland proves it. His wife hates Tucson, that's a fact.

    Miller is the only one I would want due to the fit.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Because he doesn't want to deal with our Admin.

      Delete
    2. Because he doesn't want any part of SP and the rest of our Administration. Miller wants a NC, our Admin is happy being decent.

      Delete
    3. Miller would come back here in a second. He's never really had to deal with the admin. (he was an assistant for one year here), and it isn't like he couldn't bring kids in here to compete for a NC.

      Delete
    4. If JD leaves we will see. I would bet Miller doesn't want the Pitt job.

      Delete
  45. I suspect Southern California is a far richer recruiting area than Western PA, and it is a pretty big market. In other words, he could make it a good job.

    To the "don't let the door hit in the butt on the way out" crowd, I think you way off base. That line "you don't know what you've got until it's gone" can easily play out. I've followed Pitt sports since the early 1970's, and people always think the good times will last forever, and you just plug in a new coach. It isn't so. Buzz Ridl took Pitt to the eastern regional finals in the mid-1970's with Billy Knight, and retired. And it wasn't until the late 1980's and the Charles Smith/Jerome Lane teams that Pitt was relevant again. And not again until Howland/Dixon. Pitt basketball has never had sustained excellence for so long as it has under them. And while Howland surely laid the foundation, Dixon built on.

    So they went out yesterday in flames. Frankly, this was a slightly better than average team, with no star, that won when everyone played well. In other words, Dixon got 12 BE wins through good coaching and some luck. And after last year's debacle, we should be thrilled he turned it around this year, and has two strong recruits (so I'm lead to believe by posts on this blog) coming in, Adams, Robinson, a better Johnson -- in other words a better team.

    I'd hate to see him go. As Dokish says, it's more likely Pitt will decline (and I would add "significantly") with a new coach in the first year in the ACC. Just ask NC State, Maryland and Virginia who were on top of the ACC for so long, if that lasts forever. Or ask Houston, DePaul, St.Johns, UNLV and many others about how those coaching changes worked out.

    ReplyDelete
  46. Just heard something on The Fan that made a lot of sense to me. A caller pointed out that the Pitt frontcourt consists of Dante Taylor and 2 foreigners. Taylor came out high school with a game of a small foward, not a center, and neither Zanna or Adams played much in physical environments.

    There are no Letts, Troutmans, Blairs, McGhees, or even Grays on this team .. and face it, while noth teams shot poorly yesterday, the Shockers biggies outbullied the Panthers biggies yesterday.

    Jamie either has to redesign his strategy to fit his players, or recruit Arthur Doakes or TJ Clemmings from the FB team to mix it up next year, because I don't think Mike Young is the answer next year as far as toughness goes.

    ReplyDelete
  47. One of the two remaining scholarships needs to go to a JuCo who's a bully on the boards. Maybe one who pushes Zanna to the bench to be Adams' backup. The other scholly needs to go to John Severe, the shooting guard from New York.

    This will be a good team next season. Adams will get much stronger and become better on offense. My concern is does Robinson make a jump? Tough to get better when you're really slow. Does Durand Johnson take a leap or become another JJ Moore - no development due to no abililty to dribble the ball?

    I do hope Dixon goes more up-tempo. Among the field of 64, Pitt ranked last in average possessions per game at 60.2. Let the kids run and have some fun, coach.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Give the scholarship to Jon severe?? A two star shooting guard who would redshirt and wouldn't make significant contributions to the program for years?

      Delete
    2. Please don't get hung up on the star system. There are plenty of two star players in this tournament who can shoot and would help Pitt. If Severe needs to add weight, then freaking feed him.

      Delete
  48. Basketball coaches don't stay in their jobs for 30 years anymore... very few left of that generation.
    In my opinion, Pitt has developed into a Top 20 program... they invested in facilities, etc. Albeit is not a Top 10 destination for a coach but in the Top 20.
    Pitt basketball makes a profit of $6million/yr so if it wants it can attract a top coach. Dixon makes about 1.8million.
    Pitt basketball is NOT the football program... so a coaching search should be attractive to many candidates especially with Pitt going to the ACC.

    ReplyDelete
  49. I've given this a lot of thought after calming down from the game. I can't (in my own opinion) decide what would be the best for Pitt. Part of me thinks that if Dixon leaves, Pitt's history says they totally screw up the hire and we spiral down. But if he stays, I can see the same thing happening though. Not sure where this goes. One thing for me though is I have no desire to see Howland back here. He did great things while he was here but if we are making a change, we need a CHANGE. His style is the same as Dixons. And we've all seen that it doesn't attract scorers and shooters and elite talent. And moving to the ACC, this style we play now isn't going to fly.

    ReplyDelete
  50. Seems like the Post Gazette is focused on Pitt's consistent lack of talent. However, if that be the case, how do you explain the great W-L record during the regular season. Especially the Big East season when the BE is arguably the best league. Where does this talent go in the post season. Using that analogy, the BE must be a pretty talentless league? Certainly teams can have bad games but it seems Pitts bad games always occur at the beginning of the post season whether its the BE or NCAA tourney.
    I thought yesterday Pitt looked totally unprepared and lacked Desparation. Maybe it was the time change who knows. No question that JD is a class guy who runs a clean program. That is important but Pitt must decide if that is enough. Maybe the admin looks at this differently in that the post season is not as important as the way the program run. After 10 seasons of mostly losing the first tourney game with the exception of a couple, maybe this is all acceptable as long as the Pete is filled....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Basketball is not different than football...
      Time get on soapbox...
      It's all about how you go about recruiting!!! Many thought Brandin Knight was going to be the go to guy for recruiting... he isn't!! So much has fallen on Dixon's shoulders the past 2 years.... including recruiting... and recruiting is NOT a strength for Dixon.
      Time to bring in some hotshot young assistant from the Hoop Group who has ties to all the AAU clubs. Recruiting has changed from 10-15 years ago with all the elite AAU clubs as well as Academy/Charter/Prep/Catholic schools. You rarely see the top rated players coming from a public HS anymore.

      Delete
    2. Agree, time to tell Knight and Sandle to move on.

      This is a huge year coming up for Barton. The New England prep school scene is loaded in 2014, and the Panthers will likely have five scholarships to give. That is Bill's territory and the reason he was brought to Pitt.

      Delete
    3. Pitt overacheives during the regular season. Their talent level isn't that great, probably 1 NBA player on the team and he's a freshman. That's why they lose in the post season.

      Lost first round tournament games twice in Dixon's tenure. That's hardly mostly losing first round tourney games.

      Dixon is Pitt's greatest basketball coach of all-time.

      Delete
    4. Howland is a better coach than Dixon.

      Delete
    5. Don't disagree, but wasn't here for 10 years.

      Delete
  51. Someone from Pantherlair posted a link to Gilbert Brown twitter...
    Basically...
    Gilbert Brown is slamming Dixon style of offense.
    Most revealing quote below in back and forth of Cam Wright. Also, Gil doesn't think JJ is that good (overrated)... he said don't ever compare JJ to him.. lol

    https://twitter.com/gbrown5

    Gilbert Brown ‏@gbrown5 14h

    @Burgher4Lyfe when your told not to shoot u can't Blaine him but when he shot them he made them

    ReplyDelete
  52. Dokes, I'm reading reports from LA radio sources that Dixon has tentatively accepted a deal to go to USC? Have you heard anything at all.....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I believe you, but do you have a link? I would like to hear what they say

      Delete
    2. Somebody on a TCU message board said they heard it and it was repeated on a Pitt message board. Obviously if it was real it would be all over by now.

      Delete
    3. That's ones the places I saw the post - the Frog Fan Forum....

      Delete
  53. As for Miller, there is a lot of bad blood between Pitt and the Miller family. I am sure Chris could go over some of this if he chose, it's not a big secret. When was the last time you heard Sean or any other Miller talking up Pitt, appearing at Pitt events, etc? Zero How about Pitt honoring Sean? inviting him back for stuff, etc? Zero

    Now, a lot the people who the Millers had issues with are gone from Pitt, so a triumphant return home is not out of the question, but seems unlikely.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If the Pitt job was available and Sean wasn't really happy at Arizona, I'm sure he would seriously consider it

      Delete
  54. I'm so tired of hearing what a wonderful coach Jaime Dixon is. Due to his defense at all costs program he is unable to recruit the type of explosive players that can take over a tourney and take you to the Final Four and beyond. Great player want to run the court and they want to score.

    ReplyDelete
  55. FWIW, Mike Decourcy was on The Fan earlier and said exactly what a couple of us wrote yeaterday on this blog ... that Pitt is a classic overachiever during the regular season, thus, often gets a higher seed over teams that have more talent than them.

    I had thought this to be obvious for more than a few years now. Part of the reason for this may because they have more holdovers than do some others because they have less NBA types leaving early.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Howland/Dixon program is predicated on kids being in the program for 4-5 years, which is why you see Pitt recruiting kids that typically are not going to the NBA after 1-2 years and for the most part not at all. They can make them into usable and sometimes successful collegiate players in their system, but for the most part, if you're going to play basketball at Pitt, you'd better make sure you get your degree as well.

      Delete
  56. Why would those types of players come to Pitt? The only coach in our history who's brought in that kind of talent is Calipari and he's dirty.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Willard brought in top players all the time. He just couldn't coach them.

      Delete
    2. He brought in top players one time. One was a head case and didn't get it together till long after his days at Pitt and the other played in the NBA for a year or two I guess.

      Don't know if Michael Gill, Andre Howard, Isaac Hawkins, etc. were NBA talents to be honest. Don't think any of them sniffed the league.

      Delete
  57. We have clean program, we have a good coach with high character, kids that go to class and graduate, very competitive in the Big East. Have qualified for the NCAA tourney 10 out of 11 years I think. What more do you want? NCAA record not so great. It is not the end of the world as we know it. There are other schools out there that are on probation and will be on probation because they cheat. That win because of it. I am glad that we are not one of them.

    ReplyDelete
  58. Doke
    I just read your tweet about how pit could have had caliperi or miller if they opened the checkbook.

    You are right the current adminstration just will not do that because they have their priorities in other areas.

    Look I bleed blue and gold and put all Of my energy and plenty oif my dollars into supporting the teams. I don't care about the professional teams in town, I only want to see pitt do well.

    So I have tried to accept the fact that the adminstration commitment is in othe areas like scientific progress and research and not in athletics..

    And when i really stop and think about it that is why Pitt is ranked like 5th in funding from the national institutes of health while the sports teams flounder.

    At the end of the day what is really more important?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can have both. It's not like the top programs in the country are community colleges.

      Delete
    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    3. Exactly. Michigan and Notre Dame do it. Duke spends more on basketball than any other school, yet has top-flight academics as well. This is something that has seemed lost on Pitt's university community for a long time - like since John Bowman was Chancellor.

      Nothing speaks like money. For Pitt to make its head coaching position a top-20 job, they'd have to commit to $2.5 - $3 million to the position, AT LEAST. That's the difference between hiring Shaka Smart/Brad Stevens or Tommy Amaker/Andy Toole. Given the choice, which would you rather have? They'll also have to have a top-20 recruiting budget and top-20 salary pool for assistants.

      Pitt likes to play small-ball instead of swinging for the fences with its coaching hires. If you've been a Pitt fan for the last 30 years, you see that small-ball gets you small results with the occasional upset. It also gets you half-empty stadiums. And on the occasion that you do strike lighting in a bottle, like they did with the football program in the 1970's, it's fleeting. Small ball always leads back to Foge Fazio and Paul Evans.

      Think about how money impacts the pool of coaching candidates from which you're hiring, in terms of UCLA, for instance. I seem to recall some state budgetary constraints on the basketball program when they hired Howland, which is why Pitt was easily able to match the offer. At that point the choice for Ben Howland shifted to tradition and location. No way Pitt competes there, and the decision was easy for him. What if Pitt had offered Howland $2.5 million - which was ~$1 million more than UCLA offered? His choice becomes much more difficult, and Pitt's head coaching job is elevated because the university is competing in a better pool of candidates - one in which Ben Howland exists. Instead, Pitt simply matched the offer and let him walk. Then they low-balled Skip Prosser (RIP), but good fortune stepped in and he turned it down. Pitt got lucky playing small ball that time.

      And more to the point, think about the market UCLA, the school with the greatest basketball tradition period, was engaged in for that coaching search. They went for Howland when they easily could have had Calipari. Calipari was looking to get out of Memphis (rumors were that he wanted to replace Howland at Pitt). Why Howland and not Calipari at UCLA? Money - that's why. (For anyone who says "'cause he's dirty" - that's a ridiculous argument in college sports. Ridiculous.). If UCLA wanted Calipari right now and would simply match his salary, I'd bet they could have him - easily. Think about Calipari's style, then think about his dilemma: hokey Lexington, KY or Los Angeles? Kentucky might have great tradition, but UCLA's is better.

      I don't know what's going to happen with the Pitt sports programs in the ACC. Under the current admin, I could see a fortuitous decline, while the university sucks paychecks from the ACC TV contracts for a while. But I'm hoping someone sees the light and institutes some changes - at least for one of the two revenue sports.

      Delete
    4. Pitt's AD is dumber than the Pirates organization....and just as cheap.

      Delete
  59. Reply to Anonymous’ above comment: “I look for Steve Pederson to have his Mike Haywood moment in basketball and hire Larry Eustachy, who crashes and burns at a frat party within a couple of weeks, and then we get one of Bo Ryan's assistants as his replacement.”

    First, some background: I'm from Colorado, so CSU (and CU) hoops is pretty big news out here every day.

    Larry Eustachy consistently says he loves Fort Collins (which is heaven compared to either Ames Iowa or whatever backwater Southern Miss hails from). Unless he’s just being PC, he consistently says whenever asked (which happens a LOT) that he’s thrilled to be here, this is his last college job.

    Secondly, Eustachy is not Mike Haywood!! Dude can flat-out coach: he’s taken every team he’s ever coached to March Madness within a year.

    Finally (this is only speculation): if he were tempted to leave CSU, it might be this year because his team is pretty much all seniors. Next year might be ugly.

    In short, Pitt could do a HELL of a lot worse!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Eustachy has a past. Pitt would never hire him.

      Delete
  60. Pitt has been successful under Howland, Evans and Dixon because they play so hard during the regular season. Unfortunately, they cannot elevate their game in the tournament, when all other teams seem too.

    If you look at Louisville, they play man to man press and have the extra level. They can turn it on. Pitt cannot. The midmajors play an exciting brand and often press to increase tempo. Pitt has no second gear. That is why people say they don't play desperate or hard. The howland, evans, dixon system does not promote aggressiveness. It is all about 1/2 court defense and rebounding. PREDICTABLE = losing proposition when the chips are down.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Evans was successful? His underachievement and lack of quality recruiting following the Brian Shorter/Porter class makes Dixon look like John Wooden. Eveans only "success" was coaching at Navy when David Robinson grew 7 inches.

      Delete
  61. Has anyone mentioned that our AD is terrible? Dixon likes him because he gets paid more money then he ever thought he could make. Why would any coach try to "out" his boss as a buffoon. The current coaches have to like the guy or else you get canned.

    Funny story about the differences in programs. Ohio State just fired their womens bball coach because he didn't make the tournament this year, but did make it 7 of the last 10. No final fours was his downfall. It's about expectations and settling for second class. Pitt is viewed as second class, sorry.

    ReplyDelete
  62. The Big East is taking their lumps in the tourney, maybe Louisville or Syracuse can make a run, Marquette looked shakey and ND is questionable. Was the BE a bit over rated ?

    ReplyDelete
  63. When Ben howland Is laying awake at night wondering if he will have a job at ucla next year I wonder if he ever wishes that he would not have taken the midnight flight to La ten years ago after the Marquette loss and stayed here with the fine folks in pittsburgh.

    If he would have taken pitt to three final fours he would have his picture painted in the murel down town right along side of local heroes honus Wagner, Roberto Clemente and Willie Stargell and I would have been the first in line with my paint brush to do it...

    ReplyDelete
  64. I keep reading guys trying to lay this loss at the feet of Steve Pederson. To me, that's a reach at best, laughable at worst.

    Let's be honest, Stevie-P has given Jamie Dixon all the tools he should need to win in late March, with the possible exception (jury still out) of good assistant coaches. And if not, even that is at least partly (if not wholly) on Dixon: if (?) his assistants don't/can't bring the helps he needs, then replace them.

    ReplyDelete
  65. Chris, what are your thoughts about Ammaker (if he would consider it)?

    He is much wiser now than when he was at Michigan, and he has definite ACC ties. Of course, mybe he is the coach in waiting at his alma mater

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. USC AD Pat Haden really likes Amaker. His wife is part of the package. She's a career woman who works at Harvard so she will have a big say in where Amaker goes.

      Delete
  66. Chris,

    Do you think Dixon will give a definitive answer to his future intentions at this conference call with local reporters?

    ReplyDelete
  67. @ Imma - I didn't place this loss on Steve Pederson. My point is that the Pitt athletic programs (all of them) are way below average. Pitt is not a player and he is at the head. When those in charge of a program fail, they need to go.

    Please show me how Pitt athletics has been elevated or improved since he was here the first or the second time? If you can, it would be a reach at best and laughable at worst. If you are on the fence with your analysis of his performance,hey, look at what he did while leading the program at Nebraska? Not being a hater, just looking at the ENTIRE sports programs at Pitt.

    ReplyDelete
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