Open letter to Pitt basketball fans:
Jamie Dixon is not going to be fired, so, stop right there. Programs go through rough stretches, it happens to the best of them. North Carolina, Kentucky, UCLA and Arizona have each gone through difficult stretches recently. Most college basketball teams would love to have the Pitt basketball coach at the head of their program.
This is Pitt’s first season in the ACC, a conference whose members play a completely different brand of basketball than that of the traditional Big East style of basketball that Pitt is accustomed to playing. The ACC style of play is more of a finesse and high scoring style compared with the more physical low scoring Big East style of play. Pitt made the transition and finished in fifth place in a conference that many expected to be the best in college basketball this year.
Prior to the season, college basketball analysts predicted that Pitt would finish fifth in the ACC. Jamie Dixon’s Pitt basketball team finished exactly where many predicted them to finish.
As for labeling this season as a collapse, that is not the case. When Pitt built up there impressive 16-1 start to the season, they did it against teams like Albany, Youngstown State and Howard. More than half of those wins came against teams that are not in one of the major conferences.
Pitt came into today’s matchup with Clemson needing to come out on top in order to seal an NCAA tournament bid. They struggled for most of the game, but ultimately was able to get the job done in overtime.
With a 12-1 non-conference record and an 11-7 ACC record, this Pitt team won most of the games that they needed to and is going to be in the NCAA tournament.
CBS analyst Jon Rothstein calmed the nerves of Pitt fans with:
Pitt does what its done all season — beat the teams its supposed to beat. Panthers edge Clemson in OT, stay off the bubble.
— Jon Rothstein (@JonRothstein) March 8, 2014
Jamie Dixon has his Panthers in the NCAA tournament for the 10th time in his eleven years of coaching. In his 11 years at the helm of the Pitt basketball program, Dixon has won 284 games to only 94 losses.
Sure, Pitt has had some unsuccessful NCAA tournaments under Dixon. However with three Sweet 16’s and an Elite Eight appearance, Pitt fans should not be complaining. Obviously, the goal of every season is to make it to the Final Four, but that does not mean that a Sweet 16 loss is a failure. Upsetting, yes, but many fans of rival schools would love to have a team with that much success.
To those fans who label Dixon as a bad recruiter, stop. Dixon has recruited numerous top-30 recruiting classes. He has recruited players such as Steven Adams, Dante Taylor, Khem Birch and DeJuan Blair. Almost each of his recruiting classes is headlined by at least one if not two consensus top-100 recruits.
Dixon is constantly in the news for his humanitarianism which brings positive publicity to the university. In October of 2010, Jamie Dixon was driving on a Pittsburgh highway when he spotted a car wreck. Dixon pulled his car over and rescued one of the trapped passengers.
He started the Maggie Dixon heart foundation following his sister Maggie’s sudden death due to cardiac arrest. His foundation is routed in the Pittsburgh community, and he routinely makes appearance at fund-raisers for the foundation.
Pitt has a great basketball coach and an even better person as the face of their program.
If Pitt fires Dixon, he will have his pick of programs as most college basketball teams with a vacancy at head coach will attempt to court him.