In the wake of leaving the Pitt basketball program to coach TCU, Jamie Dixon spoke with the Post-Gazette's Paul Zeise. Always a class act, Dixon was nothing but complimentary of the City and talked a little about his decision.
Zeise had a series of tweets (you can follow him here), so I'll just leave them here:
Just talked to Jamie Dixon "I love Pitt, I love Pittsburgh and I always will. The fans loved me and my family." (1/2)— Paul Zeise (@PaulZeise) March 21, 2016
"I was 17 years at Pitt, that is a long, long time in today's game. TCU was a great opportunity for me to get a fresh start."— Paul Zeise (@PaulZeise) March 21, 2016
"With my kids being at the point where they are in school, with the shape of the program with so many players returning, timing was right"— Paul Zeise (@PaulZeise) March 21, 2016
"Big difference for me was that I know these people at TCU, I've known the AD for a long time. Those other jobs, I didn't know those people"— Paul Zeise (@PaulZeise) March 21, 2016
Dixon sounded as relaxed, comfortable and relieved - and happy - as he has been in a couple years. Clearly a "battery recharged" type thing— Paul Zeise (@PaulZeise) March 21, 2016
Dixon "When we lost to Wisconsin, that was devastating to me and my players. I would expect and hope fans would be devastated as well"— Paul Zeise (@PaulZeise) March 21, 2016
Dixon "Criticism is a part of it and it means people care. I love Pitt, I love Pitt fans, I love their passion. I will definitely miss them"— Paul Zeise (@PaulZeise) March 21, 2016
Dixon wanted to make it clear he loves Pitt and always will. He just said timing was right— Paul Zeise (@PaulZeise) March 21, 2016
One other thing Dixon said "I wouldn't have left if I didn't feel like I left the program in good shape..... " (1/2)— Paul Zeise (@PaulZeise) March 21, 2016
Dixon (2/2) "with 7 of the top 9 scorers returning and three really good incoming players, it is in a good place to have success"— Paul Zeise (@PaulZeise) March 21, 2016
It's nice to see Dixon leaving on somewhat good terms, anyway. Some of this may be posturing a little - especially since CBS Sports' Gary Parrish initially said that one of the reasons he was leaving was because he felt underappreciated by fans. But it was great that Dixon was still able to take the high road here.
Dixon is correct, too, in that he is leaving a pretty good team behind. The Panthers return much of their core from last year and should have a very good chance to be in the Top 25 if everyone stays. Questions remain after next year when the team's top two players, Michael Young and Jamel Artis, will graduate. But next year's team has some potential. My guess is that it wasn't easy to leave with a potentially good team coming back, but timing was everything here. If it wasn't now for TCU, it may not have ever happened.
The more you read/hear about this, it seems like the battery recharge thing that Zeise mentions. Dixon was caught in a few years of of not having the success he had in the past and that had to wear on him as much as it did some fans.
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