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April 2, 2012

If you missed it over the weekend, four years of trying to fix TCU basketball was enough for Jim Christian. He is returning the MAC to take the Ohio University job. (Prior to taking the TCU job, Christian was head coach of Kent State.)

Just as TCU would be moving up to the Big 12 — and a higher profile — Christian would rather take a pay cut and step down in prestige. He wasn’t on the hot seat, by most accounts. The team finished 7-7 in the MWC, 18-15 overall.  And when you consider how bad TCU was, that Christian only went 38-58 in the first 3 seasons, he was making progress.

Well, this post from a Dallas paper details the reasons. Low pay scale for coaches and assistants, outdated facilities with no clear timeline for when they would be upgraded, no real commitment to improving facilities without improvement on the court (which is a chicken or egg situation), and simply not being committed to being a legit basketball program.

And of course, after all that, let’s take a run at alumni Jamie Dixon.

If TCU is looking to make a splash with this hire and “win” the press conference, the Pitt head coach would do it. But this is not going to be easy, even if the timing may never be better. It will also not be cheap.

Dixon is obviously a quality coach who has won a lot of games in college basketball’s hardest league. Pitt would be stupid to just let him walk because of one bad season, but given how rapidly the temperatures change at these jobs, TCU would not stupid not to make the phone call.

The “timing” in question is Pitt having a down year, and the writer apparently looked on message boards to see Pitt fans complaining. Always a solid barometer of judging a situation. You know, because fans and message boards are not at all emotional to the moment and reactionary. Calm reasoned discussions are the norm after a disappointing season.

Now, I do agree with the final bit. TCU has to at least make the call. Just as there is no harm in listening to offers, there is no harm in asking. Ken Pomeroy of Basketball Prospectus had a piece talking about the hiring of Jim Groce at his alma mater — Illinois. He touched on the howls of anger from Illini fans for who they didn’t get.

Illinois athletic director Mike Thomas first approached Shaka Smart and Brad Stevens about the job, and was rebuffed by both men. (See if I ask Stevens to write another Foreword. I’m kidding.) When you’re rebuffed by coaches and your search stretches into its third week, you are ritually accused of incompetence. But where the sole dispositive competence is getting one of these two coaches to say “yes” to coming to Champaign, we are all equally “incompetent.” True incompetence would have been running a coaching search in 2012 and not approaching Smart and Stevens with a sack full of money.

To be fair, there are other reasons to consider Thomas’ job in looking to replace Weber as incompetent. The point, though, is you have to take a shot. Ideally, it isn’t dragged out, but since Butler was playing in the CBI last week they did have to wait for him to be asked — and say no.

Jamie Dixon isn’t going anywhere. Least of all to TCU.

I agree, TCU basketball is irrelevant in this part of the world and never will be relevant. TCU has just poured a ton of cash into the football stadium and is not planning anything major for basketball.

Comment by Jim from Dallas 04.02.12 @ 2:49 pm

TCU has a drug problem to worry about right now.

Comment by TX Panther 04.02.12 @ 3:01 pm

no chance in hell…. I hope

Comment by pk 04.02.12 @ 3:10 pm

So Jamie Dixon will turn down USC, Arizona and all of that Oregon Nike money, but he will go to TCU? Doesn’t make much sense to me.

Comment by Wardapalooza 04.02.12 @ 3:13 pm

So … TCU is the Duquesne of the MWC?

Comment by Chuck Morris 04.02.12 @ 3:35 pm

It could be Chuck.

Comment by Jim from Dallas 04.02.12 @ 3:52 pm

Why not Fraud Graham? He gets messages from G-d and can coach anything. Graham has 2nd cousins in Ft. Worth and always wanted to live in Texas. Football, basketball, volleyball..what’s the difference?

P.S. Penni is working on speaking good Texan.

Comment by isnore 04.02.12 @ 4:54 pm

Looks like a job for Ron Everheart

Comment by alcofan 04.02.12 @ 4:57 pm

yes send them everheart he can chase 20 kids out of there program like he did the dukes

Comment by Frankcan 04.02.12 @ 5:25 pm

Jamie leaves Pitt and Acc to go to tcu?

Comment by 63Team 04.02.12 @ 8:34 pm

But over in Fort Worth he would get to see a bunch of rodeos and wear Stetson hats, eat steak right from the steers behind and enjoy those cool summer evenings during drought season.
It never rains in California, but boy don’t they warn ya, it pours man it pours…..

Comment by SFPitt 04.02.12 @ 9:21 pm

Only way I see Dixon leaving is if he doesn’t think he can recruit the type of players needed for the more athletic ACC. And he doesn’t think his & Howland’s plodding half court style will work in the ACC either. The refs might also not let PITT play it’s normally(outside of the past season) agressive defense in the ACC.

Comment by EMel 04.02.12 @ 11:20 pm

EMel, PITT knows the ACC refs won’t let them play aggressive D, thats why they started preparing this past year.

Comment by Todd Gack 04.03.12 @ 8:36 am

Todd Gack… What kind of name is that anyway? I think that it is Dutch… (great line)

Comment by Ghost of Pete Gonzales 04.03.12 @ 10:46 am

There must be some happy middle ground between aggressive D and no D.

Comment by Ghost of Hornman 04.03.12 @ 1:27 pm

…but now that we’re discussing Pitt’s lack of D in 11/12, I think it’s important to note the lack of any plus individual defenders. 10/11 had 3 plus defenders among the starting 5. It covered up for some of their defensively challenged teammates who became exposed this past season in both front and forecourt. That’s where Pitt needs to recommit and improve next year.

Comment by Ghost of Hornman 04.03.12 @ 1:31 pm

[…] the case of TCU and Jamie Dixon, this is almost entirely a media creation. The first article was earlier in the week, then came the ESPNDallas homer piece insisting that TCU has to hire Jamie Dixon. Before you roll […]

[…] left TCU to take the Ohio job. With TCU entering the Big 12 and Dixon being a Horned Frog alum, the inevitable stories began. Naturally they really didn’t amount to much. Yes, TCU reached out to Dixon but nothing […]

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