Pitt Basketball Coach Jamie Dixon: Big East is Unique, But in a Good Position

Pitt Basketball Coach Jamie Dixon: Big East is Unique, But in a Good Position
May 8, 2012 – 10:00 am by Eric Schmoldt
As the conferences continue to change in major college athletics, so too are the people that run them. Big East commissioner John Marinatto resigned with the league announcing the news in a press release on Monday.
Marinatto had held the position less than three years, a tumultuous time for a basketball-heavy league during a time when the BCS and football have dominated conference shifts. The Big East lost West Virginia, Pitt and Syracuse since Marinatto took over and will add teams like San Diego State and Boise State in 2013. Pitt basketball coach Jamie Dixon believes the Big East is still in a good spot and can sustain itself because of its uniqueness. That said, if it were in that good a position, the Panthers likely wouldn’t be leaving for the ACC.

Jamie Dixon joined 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh to discuss how the realignment has changed his recruiting, Marinatto’s resignation, if it changes Pitt’s plan to leave next year, regrets about leaving the Big East and an offseason after not making the Big Dance.
Has the shift in the Big East changed anything for you in terms of recruiting?:
“Well, it’s changed some things. There’s a lot of talk — obviously the conferences are changing as we speak. But we have to recognize where we’re going to be playing and the different things that come with that. … The reality is we’re generally going to have to go in somebody’s back yard pretty much every guy we recruit. We understand that and have been doing that for a while. We understand that we’ve got to probably head more toward ACC country, more toward the southeast a little bit.”
What’s your take on what appeared to be the forced resignation of Big East commish John Marinatto and where the Big East is right now?:
“I think the Big East has been in a good position. I think they’ve improved themselves in a lot of ways because of the teams that they’re able to add. I think adding Boise State, San Diego State and with a lot of other teams going to other BCS conferences … now it kind of separates the Big East and the BCS conferences from the other conferences as far potential teams that could break in to a BCS bowl. Now they’re  all really affiliated with BCS conferences. That said, there’s been a lot of talk and so much change in the conference. … I think there’s been a lot of movement that I think the Big East was just a situation that the Big East could be sustained because of how it started as a basketball conference with so many different schools with different makeups. … The Big East is unique, there’s no question about it.”
Does this change your timetable or do you still expect this to be your last year in the Big East?:
“That’s what people are saying and you look at it and see the landscape of it, with the teams coming in, you would think our departure would be next year. I don’t think it changes anything. … I don’t think it will affect us in any way. … It’s been a great affiliation, a great marriage between Pitt and the Big East. That said, it’s time for some teams to move and I think we’ve gone into a stable environment and I think everyone can agree to that.”
Are there any regrets about leaving the Big East?:
“Yeah, there is. Bittersweet was the word I talked about when it all happened. There’s obviously a lot of great memories. We’ve had a tremendous run there in the Big East and wouldn’t be where we’re at without the Big East. But at the same time, stability and conference realignment and revenue, all those different things. Academics, the way that conferences are going, I think the ACC holds a bright future for us and what we’re trying to do.”
What’s this offseason been like having not gone to the NCAA tournament?:
“It’s the first time. We’d been there 10 years in a row. Obviously when you’ve been there 10 years in a row, there’s no good way to look at it. … I think only four or five universities had been there 10 years in a row. Obviously we didn’t continue it. Always the case has been moving on to the next year every year I’ve been here and you’re excited about the next group and the next opportunity. I don’t think it changes in that regard.”
Listen to Jamie Dixon on 93.7 The Fan in Pittsburgh here
Tags: BCS, Big East Conference, Bowl Championship Series, College Basketball, College Football, Conference Realignment, Jamie Dixon, John Marinatto, John Marinatto resigns as Big East commissioner, Pittsburgh Panthers

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