I’ve tried to ignore it since midseason, because it is rather silly. Still, the storyline is getting a little more play so I guess it’s time to write a bit about the idea that Coach Jamie Dixon would take the USC job.
Is it possible?
Well, sure, most things are possible. But it isn’t very probable.
Last week. Last week — mind you — Jeff Goodman at CBS Sports wrote about USC talking to Syracuse’s coach-in-waiting Mike Hopkins. In writing up the potential of Hopkins, Goodman noted who the guy USC AD Pat Haden had at the top of his list.
The hip pick is Pittsburgh’s Jamie Dixon returning to the West Coast (that’s where he’s from). The 47-year-old Dixon is set to go to his ninth NCAA tournament in 10 seasons since taking over for Howland. It could happen, but Dixon has had other opportunities to leave — including one before Kevin O’Neill took the USC job three years ago — and has spurned them all. The USC program is in a better place now, and Pittsburgh is headed into a stacked ACC, so it makes more sense for him to head west now than it did a few years back. However, the question becomes his buyout and whether he’d actually pull the trigger when the time comes to make a decision.
Dixon, from what I’m told, sits atop Haden’s list.
The themes are all hit. Heading to a new conference. The ACC is stacked. He’s from the west coast. USC isn’t quite the dumpster fire it was three years ago. The one thing it doesn’t try to claim: that Dixon wants to take the USC job.
On the flip side, it is not like the Big East was a small-time basketball conference with little competition. If anything with Pitt, Syracuse and ND heading to the ACC it is about the same. Sub out UConn for Duke. UNC for Georgetown. Miami for Marquette… You get the picture. While USC isn’t as bad as it was, it still isn’t a good job with a football fanbase. Yes, he’s from the West Coast, but he’s now lived in Pittsburgh for 14 years and has turned down opportunities going back to 2006 to go west.
The piece as it relates to Dixon really only notes that USC wants Dixon. Again, not a surprise just more confirmation.
But Monday, The Big Lead tweeted out the rumor, with a little extra.
An Austin columnist floated Larry Eustachy-to-USC but I’m told the search firm has targeted Jamie Dixon. Feeling is mutual…but it’s early
— Jason McIntyre (@TheBigLead) March 11, 2013
At this juncture, I’m hearing Dixon is the primary target of the search firm advising USC AD Pat Haden on the hire. Although it hasn’t been confirmed anywhere (I tried the USC athletic department, no dice), Korn/Ferry is supposedly working with Haden on the hire, and leading the charge is Jed Hughes.
If the name sounds familiar, it’s because Hughes recently did the Jets’ GM search, and he’s a former NFL assistant coach for, among other teams, the Pittsburgh Steelers. Hughes lives in Pittsburgh, and apparently knows Dixon well. The word on the street is that Dixon wants to get back to the West Coast, and even Mike DeCourcy of the Sporting News speculated that there’s some trepidation on Dixon’s part about joining the loaded ACC next year.
It’s a bit of connecting dots, and I’ve yet to read anyone other than the Big Lead say Dixon wants to go back west.
As for the Mike DeCourcy piece he cites, that was written in September 2011 — right after news broke that Pitt was heading to the ACC. So, for starters he’s citing a piece that is 18 months, and a full coaching carousel cycle old. To say nothing of the fact that the DeCourcy piece was part of a string of “sky is falling” pieces from basketball writers on expansiopocolypse when the Big East got hit.
As I said back then, it was a reactionary piece. It wasn’t well thought out or researched. Purely hypothetical. And now it is being used as support 18 months later to say that Dixon wants to take the USC job.
Now keep in mind, nearly three years ago the Big Lead pushed that Jamie Dixon was going to take the Oregon job. Dixon will listen to offers. He always listens. I have no problem with that.
He’ll probably get a raise and extension. Ray Fittipaldo of the P-G has hinted this season that Dixon has not liked requirements that he play a certain number of home games in the non-con to ensure profitability at the Pete. That, however, has hindered his efforts to schedule better opponents. Perhaps that gets revisited. I have no problem with that. That’s the way the game is played.
I also look forward to Mark Madden’s big scoop from his inside sources next week on how Dixon is heading to USC.