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It’s Looking Like Jamie Dixon Will Be UCLA’s Next Basketball Coach

A Ben Howland protege looks like the choice.

NCAA Basketball: Texas Christian at Vanderbilt
Welcome Jamie DIxon
Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

The UCLA Bruins are whistling Dixon.

Apparently, the UCLA coaching search has come down to two people, Cincinnati Bearcats coach Mick Cronin and TCU’s Jamie Dixon. It seems likely Jamie Dixon is the winner. From Twitter:

There is a lot to say about Dixon whose TCU Horned Frogs recently got knocked out of the NIT in the Semifinals. Drew Davison of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram writes:

Dixon grew up in the LA area, too, and acknowledged earlier this season that UCLA is the birthplace of basketball as far as his upbringing.

For UCLA, Dixon is attractive given his knack for turning around programs in difficult situations.

TCU has become relevant in three short seasons, going 68-41 in Dixon’s tenure. The Frogs won the NIT in 2017 and snapped a 20-year NCAA Tournament drought last season.

It is a bit surreal as Dixon is from the Ben Howland coaching tree. He has known Howland his whole adult life and was his assistant in his first three jobs.

Dixon has shared many of Howland’s basketball philosophies over the years, relying on smart shot selection and strong defense and rebounding. His teams have routinely ranked among the most efficient in the nation offensively and defensively, particularly during his early years at Pittsburgh.

Dixon’s ties to Howland go back to Dixon’s days as a late-blooming star player at Sherman Oaks Notre Dame High in the early 1980s while Howland was a top recruiter at UC Santa Barbara. Howland informed Dixon that there was no place for him with the Gauchos and Dixon landed at Texas Christian, leading the Horned Frogs to the 1987 NCAA tournament before playing in the CBA and overseas.

Dixon reconnected with Howland as a graduate assistant on Jerry Pimm’s staff at Santa Barbara in 1991, and the duo later coached together for four seasons at both Northern Arizona and Pittsburgh.

Bolch’s whole article is worth a read. It is worth noting that Bolch mentions Dixon is taking over a very talented team.

Sound off on your thoughts. While it’s not a done deal, it is looking very likely and the buyout should not be a major obstacle.

Go Bruins!