Earlier this week, all signs pointed to TCU head coach Jamie Dixon bolting to take the job at UCLA.
But the talks hit a snag and are reportedly over due to Dixon’s $8 million buyout at TCU, according to the Los Angeles Times. UCLA is reportedly reluctant to pay the full amount, and discussions to lower the amount it would take for Dixon to leave his alma mater have stalled. The Times reported on Friday that the buyout “became an insurmountable sticking point” for both sides.
In an end of season meeting on Thursday with his team, Dixon reportedly did not address whether he would take the UCLA position.
The saga adds another layer to the Bruins’ struggles to find a new leader to turn their basketball program around. After a 17-16 record in 2019 in which it did not make the NCAA tournament and fired head coach Steve Alford after five-plus seasons, UCLA went for the home-run hire in Kentucky’s John Calipari. But Calipari scored a lifetime contract with the Wildcats, rebuffing a six-year, $45-million offer from the Bruins.
UCLA, once a storied program under the legendary John Wooden, has not won a national championship since 1995 or reached the Final Four in more than a decade.
Dixon was considered a solid backup option, going 68-41 in three seasons at TCU and helping lead the Horned Frogs to the NCAA tournament last season for the first time in 20 years. He would also have returned home if he took the UCLA position, as the 53-year-old is from North Hollywood.
But that storybook possibility appears to be over, and the frustration that has already been festering in Westwood will only continue to grow.
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