Jamie Dixon has managed to become a candidate everywhere and nowhere all at the same time.
It's a fascinating achievement.
|If a Duke comes along, maybe Jamie Dixon leaves. Until then? No. (US Presswire)|
Now he's preparing for his ninth season at the Big East school, where he'll have a team, led by Ashton Gibbs, good enough to be ranked in the Top 25 and projected to make the NCAA tournament for the ninth straight year.
Long story short, Dixon never was going to Maryland -- just like he was never going to Missouri when it once pursued him, Arizona State when it once pursued him, Oklahoma State when it once pursued him, California when it once pursued him, Oregon when it once pursued him, Arizona when it once pursued him or North Carolina State when it once pursued him.
Also worth noting: Dixon was never going to Tennessee even though he was reportedly on the school's list of candidates in March. And if you're a fan of some other school that has had an opening over the past four years, he was never going to your school, either.
And yet the pursuit never stops.
It seems no athletic director at a high-major institution embarking on a coaching search can move forward without first gauging the interest of Dixon. On one hand, I get it, because the guy is terrific at his job, better than I am at my job and almost certainly better than you are at yours. He has averaged 27 wins per season in eight years at Pittsburgh and made the NCAA tournament every March.
Nobody whispers about his character or recruiting practices. He has been great with NBA prospects and great without them. The worst thing anybody can say about Dixon is that he has never made the Final Four. But that criticism is a classic example of not being able to see the forest for the trees, and it's one that'll be taken off the table at some point, anyway.
So, again, I get why a school would want to hire Dixon.
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But he can't be hired.
So stop trying.
Oh, I guess, there could be a scenario someday where Duke or something like Duke opens and Dixon could be lured away from Pittsburgh by an opportunity too good to pass up. Or perhaps the NBA is in his future. But Southern California is essentially home, and he didn't go there. And Arizona is the marquee program in a state where he used to coach (at Northern Arizona), and he didn't go there. And Oregon has all the Nike money in the world, and he didn't go there. And Maryland is, in my opinion, one of the 10 best jobs in America, and he didn't go there, either. So where's Dixon really going?
And with that, let me ask one favor of every Division I athletic director: Unless the job you're trying to fill is better than the Maryland and Arizona jobs Dixon has already passed on -- which means unless you're the AD at Duke, North Carolina, UCLA, Texas, Ohio State, Kentucky, Kansas or Indiana -- please lose Dixon's phone number.
You can call and he will talk to you and be respectful because he's a nice guy and all that. But he's not coming to your school. So it would be wise to scratch his name off your list and start elsewhere, which is to say, a little lower.