« Confidence in the Texas Longhorn quarterback position appears lacking | Main | Fort Worth's Kansas Jayhawks tie to the NCAA title game »

04/02/2012

TCU's Jim Christian tells staffers he's leaving; time to start the Jamie Dixon talk

Jn6xa.St.58UPDATE 3:55 p.m. CT: TCU men's basketball coach Jim Christian has told athletic department staffers he is leaving to accept the same position at Ohio University.

Why would a man coaching a very soon-to-be Big 12 men's basketball program leave for a MAC school?

1. TCU is not a legit Big 12 men's basketball program yet. As presently constructed this job is a quick ticket to get fired. From the coaching salaries to the facilities, everything needs a major upgrade to get close to the other Big 12 members.

2. From his coaching days at Kent State, Christian has countless ties to the MAC. He also has a daughter who lives in Evansville, Indiana. He knows this conference, and he can return to what is a good men's basketball coaching job. Potentially, he could coach here for a long time with a good salary and have  some security in a field that usually offers very little.

3. Christian very likely realized TCU was not going to make a giant committment to the men's basketball program until he showed more improvement, which going into the Big 12 is going to be a very difficult proposition.

Now what? 

1. TCU is saying that improvements are coming to Daniel-Meyer Coliseum, etc., and given the facility updates elsewhere at the school there is no reason not to believe the powers that be. Fast renovations to on-campus buildings such as the home arena tend to be difficult because they are used so frequently.

2. Expect TCU to hire a CYA-firm to conduct a search and find a few candidates, all of whom will be current head coaches elsewhere. Because TCU does not have the facities and toys to compete yet, it has to make up some of the ground with a splashy coach.

3. Do not be surprised if the new coach tries to keep assistants Reggie Brown and Rob Evans, both of whom have been instrumental in helping Christian put together what is a decent recruiting class.

Jamie-dixon4. Finally, here comes the Jamie Dixon talk.

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.

According to this story, Dixon makes about $1.7 million. That salary is aligned with most big-time men's basketball coaches in the country. Christian's salary is around $600K.

Dixon has won at least 20 games in all nine of his seasons at Pitt, which is scheduled to join the ACC. But despite all of this regular season success, it has not translated to the NCAA tournament where the Panthers have yet to reach the Final Four. 

Last season, the top-seeded Panthers were upset at the buzzer by Butler in the second round, which really irritated the Pitt masses. Dixon is getting the great-regular season, bad-postseason coach rap.

This season was his worst yet; the Panthers were 22-17 and 5-13 in the Big East. From Dec. 23 to Jan. 21, the Panthers lost eight straight. From Feb. 8 to Feb. 19, they lost another five in a row.

Only a late surge of winning four of five games in the CBI Tournament, which included the title game, made the overall record semi-respectable.

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.

 

@MacEngelProf
tengel@star-telegram.com
Facebook Mac Engel

Comments

The comments to this entry are closed.