Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Basketball coaching silly season

The NCAA tournament hasn't started yet and already Pitt coach Jamie Dixon, pictured, is rumored to be a candidate to fill the vacant basketball coaching openings at DePaul and Oregon.

DePaul athletic director Jean Lenti Ponsetto said Tuesday the Chicago school is willing to open the checkbook to sign a big-name coach, stating that the next leader of the Blue Demons could have a salary that “would definitely be in the top half and it would be comparably close to the very top” in the Big East.

According to the NBC affiliate in Chicago, DePaul is targeting Dixon as its No. 1 choice with Kansas State's Frank Martin the second choice. The Chicago Sun-Times also mentioned that Dixon could be a candidate.

Oregon fired coach Ernie Kent on Tuesday. The Ducks, with the backing of Nike, are set to open the Matthew Knight Arena (named after the deceased son of Nike co-founder Phil Knight) next season. With a $200 million pricetag, it will be the most expensive on-campus basketball arena in the country. They need a coach who can increase interest in a program that averaged slightly more than 7,000 fans per game this year.

John Hunt of The Oregonian wrote about 10 potential candidates, ranking Dixon the No.3 candidate:

3. Jamie Dixon, Pittsburgh: The only knock on the wildly successful Panthers coach is that his style of play isn’t all that entertaining. A former assistant under UCLA coach Ben Howland, Dixon’s offenses are on the deliberate side.

Accomplishments: Since taking over the Panthers in 2003, Dixon is 187-53, with two Sweet Sixteens and an Elite Eight.

Affordability: Dixon, 44, makes a reported $1.6 million, but the belief is that it will take a full $2 million to lure him from Pitt.

Attitude: He is a native of Burbank, Calif., and a member of the Screen Actors Guild. So even if he doesn’t bleed green and yellow, he’d do a really good job of faking it.


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