For years, Pitt basketball fans are used to reading this, “Jamie Dixon is reportedly a candidate at ……..” We all know that nothing ever materialized, Dixon always remained at Pitt.
It’s that time of the year where schools are looking for a new coach and guess what? Yep, a rumor has surfaced concerning Dixon.
Jim Bolla hosts a daily morning radio show on KDWN in Las Vegas and also has ties to the Pittsburgh area. He graduated from Bishop Canevin and was starting center on the Pitt men’s basketball team from 1973-75. Bolla was also the head coach of the UNLV women’s basketball team for 14 years compiling a record of 300-120 (.714) record, including seven NCAA tournament appearances, and 11 20-win seasons.
Today, Bolla mentioned on the radio something regarding Jamie Dixon so I contacted him and had a long talk with him.
Bolla told me that he received information from 2 sources close to the Pitt basketball program saying that Dixon is being considered a candidate for the UNLV job. The person at Pitt told Bolla that the buyout on Dixon’s contract is the TOTAL amount of money remaining on his deal.
Bolla says that UNLV doesn’t the budget to spend that amount of money on a basketball coach. So from that perspective, it’s “unlikely” it would happen. However, the UNLV basketball program has many SIGNIFICANT people who follow (boosters) the program that could and would easily write that check for a big-time coach.
Those people will have to determine whether Dixon is enough of a “big-time coach” to give that money to. Bolla said, “Is Dixon enough to move the needle” for UNLV basketball?
Basketball is king in Las Vegas and that area wants a high-profile, winnings program back. They want it back bad.
Bolla went on to say a couple of other things that made me think that Dixon wouldn’t be the answer for the Rebels.
1) Going to be A LOT of pressure to win and that it will come with much scrutiny.
2) The head coach of UNLV is going to be somebody that has to be the face of the program. Someone that will have to be able to interact with fans, alum, national media, a big personality guy. (That isn’t Jamie Dixon).
3) UNLV just hired a new president however, the current athletic director has just one year remaining on his contract. That’s a risky move for a coach.
If you’re looking for reasons that this rumor could have some legs.
1) UNLV has world class basketball facilities.
2) UNLV is a place that’s easy to get high-profile kids to attend
3) Friction between players and Dixon? Pretty sure this is the case with certain players.
4) What happens IF AD Scott Barnes asks Dixon to make changes to his staff? Would he be willing to do so?
In my opinion, Dixon and UNLV just aren’t a good fit. I could and so see Dixon eventually leaving Pitt, but not for Vegas. But, who knows. Stay tuned.