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Pitt's Dixon gets extension (1 Viewer)

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Pitt's Dixon agrees to contract extensionSaturday, March 25, 2006By Alan Robinson, The Associated PressJamie Dixon is staying as Pitt's basketball coach, agreeing today to a contract extension after Arizona State and Missouri approached him following the Panthers' elimination from the NCAA tournament last weekend.Dixon, one of the Big East's lower-paid coaches in his first three seasons on the job, will move closer to being one of the conference's higher-paid coaches. He previously made between $500,000 and $600,000 a season in salary under a contract that ran through 2010. The new deal is believed to boost him closer to the $800,000 to $900,000-a-year level.Dixon, 40, is 76-22 at Pitt, and will return eight of the top 10 players from this season's 25-8 team in 2006-07. The Panthers won their first 15 games this season, advanced to the Big East tournament championship game and reached the second round of the NCAA tournament before being upset by Bradley, 72-66, last Sunday.Dixon's signing ended several days of speculation that, like former Pitt coach Ben Howland's departure for UCLA in 2003, he might be lured away by a school closer to his West Coast roots. Dixon, a Los Angeles-area native, is believed to have had several days of discussions with Arizona State about replacing Rob Evans.Dixon said recently he was happy at Pitt and wasn't thinking about leaving a job that has become one of the best in the country since he came to Pitt as Howland's associate head coach in 1999. The two quickly helped transform a stagnating program that had only one winning season in the previous five years into one of the best in the Big East. Pitt has played in the last five NCAA tournaments under Howland and Dixon, advancing to the round of 16 in 2002, 2003 and 2004.Dixon had no Division I head coaching experience before being hired by Pitt after Howland left, but not before the school first offered the job to Wake Forest coach Skip Prosser, a Pittsburgh-area native.According to a recent Wall Street Journal survey, two-time national champion coach Jim Calhoun of Connecticut is the best-paid coach in the Big East with a salary of $1.5 million. Among other conference coaches, Marquette's Tom Crean makes $1.1 million, West Virginia's John Beilein makes $700,000 and Villanova's Jay Wright made $510,000, but will be paid much more under a new deal that extends through the 2012-13 season.Coaches' salaries don't always reflect total compensation because some receive hundreds of thousands of dollars a year for shoe company contracts and TV shows.Dixon didn't have an agent during his first two seasons at Pitt, apparently because the school asked him not to hire one. However, he recently hired Boston-based lawyer Dennis Coleman to represent him during his contract talks with Pitt. The talks didn't begin until after the season ended because athletic director Jeff Long didn't want them to become a distraction.What is uncertain is whether Dixon's top assistant, Barry Rohrssen, will stay. He could be a candidate to replace Louis Orr at Seton Hall.
 

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