Any time a major college coaching job opens up, Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon gets a call. Or, if he doesn't get a call, he gets the next best thing: a deluge of rumors and guesses that assume he has plans on leaving Pittsburgh eventually, sooner rather than later. This isn't helped by the notion that Dixon, a Burbank, Calif., native would prefer to live on the west coast.
Thing is, Dixon has been at his program for 12 years now. He's been the head coach since 2003-04. That's a long tenure -- the kind more befitting a lifer than an opportunistic job-jumper. Dixon has had opportunities to leave before, and he hasn't. So is he finally, totally settled in at Pittsburgh? Is he ready to call the job his last?
"I think every coach has to think that and look at that," Dixon said in a recent interview. "You have to do that every place you live. I work every day with that as my intention. You have to have that intention to do the things that you do every day.
"If you operate with the intention that you're going to move in a couple of years, then you're not doing things the same way, with basketball or outside of basketball. I guess what I'm saying is the people I work with every day I plan on working with them the rest of my life. I think you have to operate under that kind of belief. That makes you do things the right way. That's a big part of life and the decisions you make."
If you read between the lines, Dixon never really says that Pittsburgh is his last job. He certainly doesn't make any Izzo-esque "I will be a Panther for life" proclamations. There is plenty of wiggle room there. And why not? At 44, Dixon has 20-plus years of coaching ahead of him. Who knows what sort of opportunity could come along?
Still, Dixon doesn't have to make that sort of bold proclamation. The proof is in the pudding; he's still, after 12 years, 188 wins and countless rumors to the contrary, the coach at Pitt. If that doesn't settle the Panthers faithful, nothing Dixon could say ever would.