Gary Parrish: Jamie Dixon is the latest to recognize it's no good to stay one place too long
Once upon a time, Pitt fans would've been thrilled with the idea of making the NCAA Tournament basically every year. But once Dixon started making the NCAA Tournament basically every year, that was no longer good enough. Suddenly Pitt fans wanted Sweet 16s. And when Dixon failed to deliver those regularly, fans started chirping, and a large percentage of them don't really seem to even mind that he left for TCU.
Whether Pitt fans are right or wrong to feel that way is not the point of this column.
The point of this column is that Jamie Dixon was smart enough to recognize Pitt fans felt that way, and aware enough to know that he'd raised the bar at Pitt to the point where merely reaching that bar annually, while exceeding all historical norms, was no longer good enough. He'd been there 13 years. And that's a long time to stay in one place in this era of college coaching unless you're a Krzyzewski or a Boeheim or a Calipari or a Pitino.
Which brings me back to Lon Kruger.
To be clear, I think Kruger is closer to a Krzyzewski/Boeheim/Calipari/Pitino than not, and I believe he'll someday join them in the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame. Regardless, Kruger figured out the business of coaching a long time ago. He's coached six different schools -- plus the Atlanta Hawks -- over a 34-year span and never stayed anywhere longer than seven seasons. He just takes a job, builds it into something nice, then goes and does the exact same thing somewhere else. He never gets bored with the current state of affairs. His fans never get bored with him. Things are forever fresh. And young coaches really would be wise to study his approach and, if possible, try to replicate it.