Pittsburgh extends coach Dixon's deal another 3 years

Updated: September 25, 2008, 2:00 PM ET
Associated Press

PITTSBURGH -- Pittsburgh basketball coach Jamie Dixon's contract was extended three seasons through the 2015-16 season Thursday, a deal that came two years following his last extension.

Dixon will receive a raise from his $1.3 million salary of last season, when he was the university's highest-paid employee.

Pitt may have felt an urgency to extend Dixon's contract so soon after giving him an extension through the 2012-13 season in March 2006 because other Big East coaches were beginning to sign more lucrative contracts.

West Virginia coach Bob Huggins' contract, for example, guarantees him at least $20 million over 10 years, including $1.5 million this year.

Dixon has had his salary more than doubled the last three years. Pitt substantially upgraded his salary after Arizona State and Missouri made overtures about hiring him following the 2005-06 season.

Before that, Dixon -- who had no major college head coaching experience before being hired by Pitt in 2003 -- was making about $600,000 per season.

"This contract extension is all about commitment," athletic director Steve Pederson said. "Our commitment to Jamie and his commitment to the University of Pittsburgh. He is deserving of this commitment by the university for establishing Pitt basketball as one of the nation's premier programs."

Since being rehired by Pitt last year, Pederson has extended the contracts of both Dixon and football coach Dave Wannstedt.

Dixon's teams have a 132-40 record in five seasons. The Panthers won Big East tournament titles in 2004 and 2008 and made NCAA round of appearances in 2004 and 2007. He is the only coach in school history to lead Pitt to five consecutive 20-win seasons and NCAA appearances.

Despite rarely attracting Top 50 recruits, Pitt has averaged nearly 27 victories per season under Dixon, including records of 31-5 in 2003-04, 29-8 in 2006-07 and 27-10 last season. Only one of his teams failed to win at least 25 games.


Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press