PITTSBURGH (93-7 The Fan) – Jamie Dixon left Pittsburgh in a hurry, but he didn’t yank out his roots in the process.
The former Pitt men’s basketball coach was emphatic about that when joined “The Fan Morning Show” on Wednesday to talk about his decision to leave Pittsburgh for TCU, his alma mater, back in March.
“It felt real hard to leave Pittsburgh,” Dixon said. “We loved it there, 17 years, loved every minute of it. My family’s going back next month. I was back for the Penguins’ Game 5 when they came up short and won it in six, I was hoping to be there for the celebration, see [Penguins president David] Morehouse raise the Cup.”
“I don’t know that I would have left for any other situation,” Dixon said. “I’ve had so many opportunities (to leave). There’s just something special about coming back to your alma mater.”
“It happened really quick. Just happened in a day, disappointment in the loss (to Wisconsin in the NCAA Tournament)…and then talking to TCU the following day. It just moved that quick.”
A lot was made of Dixon’s decision to leave, and many speculated that he may have fallen out of favor with Pitt’s administration, led by new Athletic Director Scott Barnes. Dixon said that wasn’t the case, and that he simply left a great situation for another situation, and nobody is to blame.
“There isn’t a bad guy in this situation,” Dixon said.
“No villains,” he later added. “It was a great spot and great times.”
Moving away from what he had built was difficult for Dixon, but he views his loss as new head coach Kevin Stallings’ gain.
“It was tough, you’ve got great kids, you have a great team coming back, and all those things,” Dixon said. “But, you know, somebody else gets an opportunity to coach in a great situation, in a great city, and a great place. So I was fortunate to be there for 17 years.”
Dixon did have one regret, though.
“Yeah, we wanted to win the national championship,” Dixon said. “Everybody does, very few do. That was our goal.”
“But, as far as running a high-caliber program, high-class program, representing the university, winning games…APR one of the highest in the country…no scandals, no rules violations – we did some great things. We didn’t win a national championship, that was a goal, that was something we shot for and what we’re going to be shooting for down here, but I’ll tell you what, I loved every minute, every experience…our roots are deep in Pittsburgh.”
The interview can be heard here: