Sept. 25, 2008
PITTSBURGH—University of Pittsburgh athletic director Steve Pederson announced a contract extension for head basketball coach Jamie Dixon Thursday at the Petersen Events Center. Three years were added to Dixon’s current pact which will make him Pitt’s head coach through at least the 2015-16 season.
Beginning his sixth season as head coach and 10th year at Pitt, Dixon has led the Panthers to a 132-40 record, two Big East titles (2004 regular season/2008 tournament), two NCAA Sweet Sixteen appearances (2004 and 2007) and is the first and only coach in school history to lead Pitt to five consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, five straight 20-win overall and 10-win league seasons.
Dixon’s 132 career victories rank tied for third among all-time NCAA Division I coaching starts after five seasons. He also concluded the 2007-08 season as the winningest coach in Big East history with a current .680 winning percentage in league games (66-31). 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 has also compiled the best winning percentage for a Pitt head coach after five years of service and reached 100 victories faster than any other coach in school history. He has also amassed an 80-10 record at the Petersen Events Center and has guided Pitt to the Big East Championship title game in four of his first five seasons at Pitt (2004, 2006, 2007 and 2008).
In addition, Dixon’s Panthers have excelled in the classroom as 17 student-athletes in the last six years earned degrees from the University of Pittsburgh.
Despite losing two key starters to injuries, Dixon guided Pitt to the 2008 Big East Tournament title, a 27-10 record and the school’s seventh straight NCAA Tournament appearance last year. This year, Pitt returns three of its five starters (Sam Young, DeJuan Blair and Levance Fields), each of its top three scorers and seven of its top 10 letterwinners from a team that overcame that adversity. Pitt will begin the 2008-09 season ranked among the nation’s top 10 in virtually all preseason polls. Pitt officially begins practice on Friday, Oct. 17.
Following are statements from Dixon, Pederson and Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg on the contract extension:
Statement from Pitt head basketball coach Jamie Dixon:
“I am grateful to the University of Pittsburgh for the opportunity and support that I have received here. I love both the University and our outstanding city. I’m fortunate to be surrounded by a special group of players, a great coaching staff, the most supportive administration in the country and tremendous fans. Our success can be attributed directly to those components. We’ve been able to celebrate Big East Championships and NCAA Tournament appearances while playing in the sold out Petersen Events Center. My family considers Pittsburgh home.”
Statement from Pitt athletic director Steve Pederson:
“This contract extension is all about commitment: our commitment to Jamie and his commitment to the University of Pittsburgh. Jamie has risen to the top of his profession in a very short period of time. He is deserving of this commitment by the University for establishing Pitt Basketball as one of the nation’s premier programs. Jamie has built the Pitt program the right way, with high quality student-athletes, tremendous character and upstanding values. The best days for Pitt Basketball lie ahead. On a personal note, it is a pleasure to work side by side with such a fine man.”
Statement from Pitt chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg:
“Five years ago, we gave a young, but extraordinarily capable and committed, head coach the opportunity to lead our men’s basketball program – which he had helped move onto the national stage – to even higher levels of quality and impact. Under Jamie Dixon’s leadership, that program has secured a position as one of the country’s finest – widely respected for its success in competition, its high quality student-athletes, and its strong guiding values. Jamie Dixon not only is one of college basketball’s best coaches, he also is one of our University’s best representatives. Today’s announcement is a clear reflection of our shared desire to have him continue in those roles for many years to come.”