Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
Jamie Dixon Says Pitt Tried to Keep Big East Together
Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon says his school tried to keep the Big East together, but ultimately felt the ACC was the best option going forward.
“We’re excited, and I don’t know when we will officially enter the ACC, but we’re excited about this season, we’re excited about next season,” Dixon, whose team won the Big East regular season title last year, said in a statement. “Whenever we do enter the ACC and begin play in that conference, we’ll be ready for that as well. Chancellor [Mark] Nordenberg and [athletic director] Steve Pederson, what they’ve done over the years in monitoring this whole situation has put the University in the best situation it can be. They did an unbelievable job and we have great respect, confidence and admiration for what they’ve done and the position they’ve put us in.”
Nordenberg has taken some heat for leaving the league after he criticized Miami, Boston College and Virginia Tech for doing the same thing in 2003.
According to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, he said that those moves would be viewed as “something of a low point” and accused the ACC and the three schools of “broken commitments, secret dealings, breaches of fiduciary responsibility, the misappropriations of conference opportunities and predatory attempts to eliminate competition.”
Now, however, he’s singing a different tune.
“We did make clear within the Big East we were willing to work to improve the conference in any way that we were asked,” he said, according to the New York Times. “At the same time, we also made very clear that if other opportunities would arise, we would feel as if we were obligated to assess them.”
Dixon pretty much echoed those sentiments.
“We knew realignment was going to occur at some point and the possibility of it,” Dixon said. “I think our Chancellor and Steve and I have made every effort to help the Big East stay together, grow, get better and add more teams, but we also knew there was the possibilities of realignment where we might be the team that moves on. I don’t know if people realize how much time and effort that the Chancellor and Steve have put into this every day.
“To think what Chancellor Nordenberg has done with building this university, the growth and the rankings and all different things, it’s amazing. But to have his feel and to have his input on the conference, he’s been constantly on top of that. I always felt in our conversations that if we were to move conferences, that the ACC would be the conference.”
Dixon attended Texas Christian University, and was instrumental in helping to bring them into the Big East, beginning in 2012.
Now, his school is leaving just as they are arriving.
“I’ve talked with them and their Athletic Director,” Dixon said. “He’s a friend of mine. They’re in a better position now than they were last year and they understand that and know that. They knew what the conference’s situation was when they signed up for it.”
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Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.