April 3, 2010
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.--University of Pittsburgh Basketball Coach Jamie Dixon was presented with the Jim Phelan National Coach of the Year Award on Friday at the Indianapolis Hyatt Hotel. Named after legendary Mount St. Mary's head coach Jim Phelan, who won over 800 games and coached in more contests than any in college basketball history, the award is presented annually to the top coach in America by CollegeInsider.com. The honor is voted upon by a distinguished group of coaches, media members and athletic administrators.
Dixon, who has been listed as a finalist for virtually every national coach of the year honor, was also named the CollegeInsider.com Big East Coach of the Year. Other finalists for the Jim Phelan Award were Steve Alford (New Mexico), Jim Boeheim (Syracuse), John Calipari (Kentucky), Steve Donohue (Cornell), Fran Dunphy (Temple), Ben Jacobson (Northern Iowa), mid-season honoree Frank Martin (Kansas State), Chris Mooney (Richmond), Matt Painter (Purdue), Bo Ryan (Wisconsin), Bill Self (Kansas), Brad Stevens (Butler), Mark Turgeon (Texas A&M) and Jay Wright (Villanova).
Previous Jim Phelan Award winners include John Calipari (Memphis, 2009), Bo Ryan (Wisconsin, 2008), Tony Bennett (Washington State, 2007), Ben Howland (UCLA, 2006), Tubby Smith (Kentucky, 2005) Phil Martelli (St. Joseph's, 2004) and Mark Slonaker (Mercer, 2003).
Despite losing four starters--including two NBA players DeJuan Blair and Sam Young, Dixon guided his 2009-10 Pitt team to a 25-9 overall record, second place finish in the Big East with a 13-5 slate, the school's ninth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance and a No. 3 seed upon entering the tourney. Prior to the season, Pitt was unranked and picked to finish ninth in the Big East by league coaches. Next year, Pitt returns four of five starters, seven of its top eight scorers, 86 percent of its scoring and 91 percent of its rebounding.
Named the 2009 Naismith National Coach of the Year, Dixon recently completed his seventh season as head coach and 11th total year at Pitt. Dixon has led the Panthers to a 188-54 record, two Big East championships (2004 regular season/2008 tournament), two 30-win seasons, one NCAA Elite Eight appearance (2009), three NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearances (2004, 2007 and 2009) and is the first and only coach in school history to guide Pitt to seven consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, seven straight 20-win overall and 10-win league seasons. He also propelled Pitt to its first-ever No. 1 national ranking and first-ever No. 1 seed upon entering the NCAA Tournament in 2008-09.
Dixon's current 188 career victories tie the NCAA Division I record for most wins after the first seven seasons of a coaching career. Dixon currently ranks third on the NCAA's active winningest coaches by percentage list. Dixon also concluded the 2009-10 season as the winningest coach in Big East history with a current .696 winning percentage in league games (94-41). Following Dixon are legendary names such as Georgetown's John Thompson, Connecticut's Jim Calhoun, Syracuse's Jim Boeheim and St. John's Lou Carnesseca. Dixon, who already ranks second on Pitt's all-time career coaching wins list, has also compiled the best winning percentage for a Pitt head coach after seven years of service and reached 100 victories faster than any other coach in school history. He has also amassed a 116-11 record at the Petersen Events Center and has guided Pitt to the Big East Championship title game in four of his first seven seasons at Pitt (2004, 2006, 2007 and 2008).