Dixon Named Naismith Coach of the Year

Issue Date: 
April 13, 2009
Jamie DixonJamie Dixon

Pitt men’s basketball coach Jamie Dixon received a top national honor when, on April 7, the Atlanta Tipoff Club named him the 2009 Naismith Men’s College Basketball Coach of the Year.

Dixon was chosen by the club’s board of selectors, a group of leading basketball journalists, coaches, and administrators from around the country. The Naismith Award, presented annually to the men’s and women’s top college coaches, is the most prestigious national award in college basketball.

“Pittsburgh had a tremendous season, and much of that success goes to Jamie and the wonderful coaching job he did with this team,” said Gary Stokan, Atlanta Tipoff Club president. “During his six seasons, he has built a solid program that continues to produce wonderful results, both on and off the court.”

Pitt Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg said, “In terms of what our team accomplished, this past season probably was the most memorable in the long history of the Pitt men’s basketball program. Even more remarkable, though, is the sustained record of excellence that Coach Dixon has built—breaking a 57-year-old record by claiming the most wins by a major college coach in his first six years as a head coach in the history of college basketball. And, as the Atlanta Tipoff Club noted in announcing his selection, Coach Dixon’s teams have been great representatives of our University, on and off the court. He is a caring, compassionate individual who has made the integrity of the program and the total growth of his student-athletes his highest priorities.”

With his 163 career wins, Dixon set an NCAA Division I record for most victories after six seasons as a head coach. Dixon also concluded the 2008-09 season as the Big East Conference’s all-time leader in the percentage of overall league games won (.698).

During the 2008-09 season, Dixon guided Pitt to a 31-5 record (15-3 Big East), earned the school’s first-ever No. 1 seed upon entering the NCAA Tournament, and led the Panthers to the NCAA East Regional final. Pitt also achieved the consensus No. 1 national ranking for the first time in school history, set or tied school records for victories (31) and league wins (15), and finished the year with a perfect 19-0 home record.

Dixon has now guided the Panthers to NCAA Tournament appearances in each of his first six seasons as head coach, becoming the first coach in school history to achieve that honor. He has amassed a career record of 163-45, which places him third on Pitt’s all-time coaching wins list after just six seasons.

Dixon began his coaching career in 1989 as the head coach at TeAute College in New Zealand. He spent 17 years coaching major NCAA Division I schools, including assignments at Pitt, Northern Arizona University, University of Hawaii, and the University of California-Santa Barbara.

Dixon is very active in the Pittsburgh community, and his many charitable affiliations include the Caring Place, HOPE Network Hoops Classic, St. Anthony’s Holy Name Father-Child Breakfast, the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, and Boy Scouts of America.

Later this week, Dixon will receive the Bob Prince Award at the annual Art Rooney Award Dinner supporting the Catholic Youth Association. In 2004, he was honored as the Pittsburgh YMCA’s Person of the Year.