Despite a one-and-done exit from the NCAA Tournament, Pitt is more concerned with coaching continuity. Less than 48 hours after Pitt's basketball season ended, the university announced that it extended head coach Jamie Dixon's contract through the 2022-23 season.
Should he finish out this contract extension, that would put him at Pitt a total of 24 seasons, including 20 as head coach. Just finishing his tenth season, Dixon owns the highest winning percentage in school history (.753) with a 262-86 record from 2003-13. He has led the Panthers to nine NCAA Tournaments in 10 seasons, the most NCAA appearances by a Pitt coach.
"Pitt and Pittsburgh are home," Dixon said. "My family and I feel blessed to be part of such a great institution and wonderful city. It is the people who truly make a place special. I could not be surrounded by better players, staff and administration. These aren't just people I work for and with every day. They're friends and I'm very thankful for that. I would like to express special appreciation to our leadership team of Chancellor Mark Nordenberg, Athletic Director Steve Pederson and Executive Vice Chancellor Jerry Cochran. Their guidance and friendship have been invaluable. I greatly appreciate the faith and support they have always shown me since my arrival at Pitt."
Dixon has maintained a good relationship with athletic director Steve Pederson and Chancellor Mark Nordenberg, further evidenced by this contract extension.
While Pitt's football program has endured some stability issues (seven different head coaches including interim head coaches in the same span Dixon has been in charge of basketball), the administration has done a lot to ensure the basketball program--which has made the NCAA Tournament in 11 of the last 12 seasons--does not suffer a similar fate.
After finishing this past season with a 24-9 overall mark, the Panthers head to the ACC. In addition to that, this contract extension likely deters other programs--USC for example--from luring Dixon away.
"Very few programs can match the sustained success that Pitt basketball has achieved during the past decade under Jamie Dixon," Pederson said. "As we move forward as a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference, our future has never been brighter or provided more opportunity. In order to maintain and build upon our past success, it was important to our university and athletic department that we make a strong long-term commitment to Jamie. He has been far more than a basketball coach at Pitt and we are fortunate to have such a high-caliber person representing our university. I look forward to continuing to work with Jamie as he leads our program into an exciting new era in the ACC."