- Following a 13-year run as head coach of Pittsburgh, Dixon took over as TCU coach three years ago
- Dixon has produced mixed results, leading the Horned Frogs to the NCAA Tournament just once in three years
- Reportedly negotiating with TCU to reduce his buyout, Dixon has become the favorite for the UCLA opening
As the search heats up for the next head basketball coach at UCLA, Texas Christian boss Jamie Dixon has emerged as a clear favorite to take the reins in Westwood, sporting -200 odds.
Who will be UCLA Basketball’s Next Head Coach?
|Coach (Current Team)||Odds|
|Jamie Dixon (TCU)||-200|
|Mick Cronin (Cincinnati)||+200|
|Randy Bennett (St Mary’s)||+1200|
|Billy Donovan (OKC Thunder)||+1200|
|Shaka Smart (Texas)||+1600|
|Earl Watson (N/A)||+1600|
|Luke Walton (LA Lakers)||+2000|
|Bill Walton (N/A)||+10000|
|Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (N/A)||+50000|
*Odds as 04/03/19
Buyout Talks with TCU Heating Up Speculation on Dixon’s Next Destination
Speculation on Dixon heading to the west coast heated up this week when he didn’t return to campus after TCU was eliminated from the NIT semifinals by Texas.
Latest I've heard on Jamie Dixon: He's trying to negotiate his $8-million buyout down to $1 million. Barring that, UCLA will have to come up with the money. Have also been told that Mick Cronin is getting antsy and the next 24 hours could be critical to keeping him in the mix.
— Ben Bolch (@latbbolch) April 3, 2019
While Dixon, who is originally from North Hollywood, California, has declined to comment to media on his future plans or whether he has engaged in talks to take over the helm at UCLA, the 53-year-old has reportedly been in negotiations with TCU to reduce the buyout on his contract from $8 million to $1 million, thereby freeing him up to move onto greener pastures.
Dixon Producing Mixed Results as Horned Frogs Head Coach
Dixon returned to his alma mater as Horned Frogs head coach in 2016 after 13 seasons at the helm of the Pittsburgh Panthers. He was given a contract extension last year that was expected to keep him in Fort Worth through the 2023-24 season.
However, it remains unclear whether TCU is willing to reduce the value of Dixon’s buyout, which is specifically designed to discourage coaches under contract from making the type of move that Dixon is reportedly pursuing.
Jamie Dixon's in negotiations with #TCU to reduce his $8-million buyout one person told @latimes . Barring that, #UCLA and Dixon would have to find a way to pay the full amount. TCU shouldn't budge on the 8M, they may have to buyout a new coach for themselves. @NBCDFWSports pic.twitter.com/OV1VokRIJ5
— Newy Scruggs (@newyscruggs) April 3, 2019
The Horned Frogs have produced mixed results with Dixon as head coach. They haven’t finished over .500 in the Big 12 in any of his three seasons, and they meekly bowed out to Syracuse in the opening-round of their only NCAA Tournament appearance a year ago.
A member of Dixon’s staff was also implicated in the FBI’s recent investigation into college basketball corruption, with assistant coach Corey Barker eventually losing his job for allegedly accepting bribe.
UCLA Engaged in Aggressive Search for Bench Boss
The Bruins have been searching for a new head coach since parting ways with Steve Alford following a shaky 7-6 start, with a stunning 73-58 blowout loss to the Liberty Flames on December 29 being the last straw.
Steve Alford is the first UCLA head coach to not win a regular season conference title since Larry Brown, who coached UCLA for two seasons (1979-80 and 1980-81), and the only Bruins head coach to be fired midseason.
UCLA is 7-6 this season, its worst 13-game start since 2011-12. pic.twitter.com/hd2KDtO5RH
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 31, 2018
UCLA reportedly were in pursuit of John Calipari, offering the Kentucky boss an estimated $8 million per season on a six-year deal that Calipari politely declined.
Cronin Attracting Attention from UCLA, Virginia Tech
In addition, Mick Cronin has been regularly mentioned as a potential candidate to take over the head coaching role at UCLA, and closely follows Dixon as a +200 wager.
Cronin has enjoyed steady success as head coach in Cincinnati, leading the Bearcats to a pair of AAC regular-season title
Cronin has enjoyed steady success as head coach in Cincinnati, leading the Bearcats to a pair of AAC regular-season titles. The Bearcats have also become March Madness fixtures under Cronin’s guidance, claiming a berth in the NCAA Tournament in each of the past nine years.
However, their success at the tournament has been lacking, advancing past the opening weekend just once during that stretch.
One potentially important factor to consider with Mick Cronin's UCLA candidacy is that Virginia Tech AD Whit Babcock, who may be searching for a coach himself, was Cronin's AD for 2 1/2 years at Cincinnati.
— Ben Bolch (@latbbolch) April 2, 2019
However, Cronin has reportedly been involved in contract-extension talks with Cincinnati, and has also been mentioned as a candidate to take over the reins of Virginia Tech from Buzz Williams, who departed for Texas A&M.
UCLA Job Dixon’s to Lose
The other notable candidates to take over as UCLA head coach are Saint Mary’s Randy Bennett and Oklahoma City Thunder coach Billy Donovan, who both sport attractive +1200 odds.
But with Dixon taking steps to part ways with TCU, and UCLA showing a willingness to open the vault to get him, there is likely no value to be found elsewhere on the odds board.
Pick: Jamie Dixon (-200)
Let's have fun and keep it civil.