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Replacing Jamie Dixon is not a guarantee for success

Think before you speak in getting rid of Jamie Dixon

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

325 wins, 13 years, 11 NCAA tournament bids, four different national coach-of-the-year awards, two conference Coach of the Year awards, two Sweet 16s, an Elite Eight.

Yes, Jamie Dixon has accomplished a lot in his tenure at Pitt.

Yes, Jamie Dixon has never been to the Final Four.

Yes, Jamie Dixon hasn't guided a team past the first weekend since 2009.

Yes, Jamie Dixon's coveted 2016 recruiting class of Mustapha Heron and Maverick Rowan are not coming to Pitt.

The fanbase is split, but no, I don't personally believe Jamie Dixon should move on to TCU as reports suggest that he could.

A lot of fans want Pitt and Dixon to part ways, and I get that. Often, change can be good. But despite playing in a good conference and having good facilities, Pittsburgh is still not exactly the destination campus that many hype it up to be, in part because the recruiting area is not that fertile compared to others. There is a chance that Pitt hits a home run and a new coach rejuvenates the program. But fans need to remember that the chance also exists that the Panthers swing and miss in hiring his successor, too.

Given that, let's assess Jay Wright's success at 'Nova since he has been named as a popular target by the fan base.

I think it is fair to equate Pitt to a Philly counterpart, Villanova. Is Villanova in better shape than Pitt is right now? Sure. But fans should remember that since their Final Four, Villanova has struggled plenty with early exits, too. Many Pitt fans want a change because of a lack of postseason success. But the Wildcats just ended a stretch with a series of NCAA Tournament early exits (including one missed year altogether), reaching their first Sweet 16 since that 2009 season. If postseason success is the goal, Wright is hardly a lock to produce that.

Wright's resume is as impressive as Dixon's. He has 346 wins, 15 seasons, ten NCAA tournament bids, two Sweet 16's, an Elite Eight, a Final Four, a National Coach of the Year award, five conference Coach of the Year awards. But again, he's had a slew of postseason disappointments, too.

So has 'Nova been a better program under Wright than Pitt has been under Dixon? Debatable.

Keep in mind that Pitt is not nestled in the heart of a tremendous basketball-rich city, like 'Nova is in Philly. And, with the exception of one Final Four, Wright and Dixon's tournament success rate is almost identical. That Final Four appearance? That easily could have been Pitt. If it wasn't for a Scottie Reynolds buzzer-beater that beat Pitt in the final seconds of that Elite Eight, this conversation could very easily be completely different. 'Nova was ranked number one in the country for the first time in school history this past season. A feat that Dixon and Pitt accomplished back in 2009.

Of course, Wright is only one example. Could the Panthers make the Final Four with Sean Miller as the coach? Maybe, but he's not even accomplished that at Arizona with considerably better talent. Plus, I don't personally believe that Sean Miller is leaving Arizona for Pitt, anyway. Would Pitt have won a national championship if Pitt hired John Calipari over Dixon? Maybe, but the what if game is murky at best.

And when you mention other names that Pitt could potentially pursue, there are plenty of attractive candidates. But finding someone that will approach the level of success as Dixon has had while running a clean program might not be as easy as it seems. Pitt landing a better coach than Dixon is hardly a sure thing, even with a great administration.

There is no doubt that Pitt is stagnant right now. The transition from the Big East to the ACC has not gone smoothly for Pitt and there's been a noticeable decline under Dixon. But the point remains that Jamie Dixon has been great for Pitt and is worthy of a nice send-off if he goes. Pitt is the program it is today because of the product of Dixon and his work and replacing him may not be all that easy.