Big Mac Chat: Jamie Dixon
TCU chancellor Victor Boschini and athletic director Jeremiah Donati each made public statements about men’s basketball coach Jamie Dixon staying at the school on April 5, instead of bolting for UCLA.
Boschini told TCU 360 Dixon went to his house on April 4 and said he’d be staying, something that “relieved and excited” the chancellor. Donati posted on social media April 5 about keeping Dixon, saying he was excited about the future of the men’s basketball program under Dixon.
Dixon, though, didn’t say anything publicly until April 9, shortly after Cincinnati’s Mick Cronin was named the UCLA coach.
Well, according to a Los Angeles Times report, Dixon wasn’t out of the mix at UCLA and the two sides made “colossal efforts” to make a deal work as late as April 8.
The thought had been that Dixon wasn’t a candidate for UCLA by the end of the week of April 5 when TCU wouldn’t budge on his contract buyout that was “a little north” of $8 million.
But, befitting a Hollywood script, the Bruins reportedly circled back to Dixon a few days later after they came up with the money to cover Dixon’s buyout. The holdup this time?
“Because of a California provision that taxes buyouts as a gift, Dixon was going to be on the hook for around $4 million in taxes even after UCLA restructured his contract to cover the buyout, two people close to the situation said,” according to the LA Times report.
“Despite colossal efforts by both sides, hopes of a deal fell apart.”
TCU officials question the accuracy of the report on UCLA circling back days later, and Donati addressed the report on Tuesday.
“I do not doubt for one minute Jamie’s commitment to being here at TCU,” Donati said.
TCU brass refused to negotiate Dixon’s buyout, as it didn’t want to lose a respected basketball coach who had turned the program around in three seasons.
Dixon has not responded to a request for comment on the LA Times latest report, but told the Star-Telegram in the aftermath that he and his family are “very happy” at TCU.
Dixon does not like to talk about other jobs publicly, but acknowledged his family’s Southern California roots made the UCLA job attractive.
“My wife’s and myself’s families are very important to us, and on both sides our parents are getting older,” Dixon said earlier this month. “Our families are the most important thing to us, so that is always an ongoing responsibility that changes over time.
“My wife is an only child, and I have one sister that is still with us. So our parents, our families is a responsibility we have.”
Asked if he ever thought he wouldn’t be TCU’s coach during the UCLA saga, Dixon said: “I always think I’m coaching the team I’m coaching. We’re building every day for that. Every day I spend coaching the guys and looking at their futures.
“I would say that I’m always spending every day looking at the future of our players, our program.”
Dixon is 68-41 in three seasons at TCU. He won an NIT championship in his first season, snapped a 20-year NCAA Tournament drought in the 2017-18 season and landed in the NIT again last season after TCU ranked among the biggest “snubs” of the NCAA Tournament.