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Timing makes sense for Dixon’s move

Jamie Dixon turned Pittsburgh into a regular NCAA Tournament team and now he's returning to his Alma Mater to build TCU.

Jamie Dixon turned Pittsburgh into a regular NCAA Tournament team and now he’s returning to his Alma Mater to build TCU.

On paper it seems like a step back that Jamie Dixon is leaving Pittsburgh to take over as the head coach at TCU, but the change of scenery makes sense.

Dixon took the Pittsburgh program to new heights. They won the Big East regular season three times, the tournament twice and were a regular in the NCAA Tournament. Before Dixon, the Panthers went to three Sweet 16’s, and one of those times he was an assistant coach. After he took over, they went to four and have appeared in 11 NCAA Tournaments in his 13 seasons, including each of his first eight seasons in charge.

Only time time in his 13 seasons the Panthers failed to win at least 20 games. They went 19-15 instead.

But perhaps the Panthers ran their course and with the move to the ACC, things will become much tougher for them as they went from being the power at the top of the Big East to fighting to become relevant in the second tier of the ACC behind Duke, North Carolina and now apparently Virginia.

Dixon had his time with the Panthers. His first year they were a No. 1 seed and from 2007 to 2011, his team was never seeded below No. 1 and was twice a No. 1 seed. He took his team to the Elite Eight in 2009 and oversaw six NBA draft picks. The Panthers came close to winning, never did and now that era of greatness is over and the team is a good but not elite team.

Dixon did not have to leave. With a 328-123 overall record, he had complete say over his future with the program for a long, long time. But he rather than stay in stagnant in a conference that will not truly embrace the Panthers (the ACC never embraced Maryland and they were a founding member, leading to their departure to the Big Ten), Dixon decided to return back to his Alma Mater to build a program pretty much from scratch.

Dixon played for TCU from 1984 to 1987 and was a part of one of their few teams that went to the NCAA Tournament. But it’s been 18 years since the Horned Frogs went to the NCAA Tournament. They haven’t won a regular season championship since Dixon’s senior year.

Since 1999, the Horned Frogs have made only two postseason appearances, going to the quarterfinals of the NIT in 2005 and the quarterfinals of the CBI in 2012, but it’s pretty much been misery for the program at a football school in a football state.

Trent Johnson, who went to the NCAA Tournament with Nevada, Stanford and LSU, was unable to make TCU relevant in their four seasons in the Big 12. He went only 50-79 and was horrible in conference play, going a combined 8-64. Three out of the four years they finished last in the standings. Another year second to last.

The Big 12 might be a football conference, but it has really committed to basketball and TCU is joining the party. And certainly it will be very tough for the Horned Frogs to break in and get up the standings, especially considering that every other school in the conference has strong basketball tradition and seven of the conference’s 10 programs went to the NCAA Tournament this season, but Dixon has proven he can take a program with little to no history and make it a power. And he did that in a conference that prided itself on basketball.

The hire is a home run for TCU, and for Dixon, he gets a change of scenery and maybe in the future the pride of building up his old program from nothing before.

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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