Former Terps great Dixon out as coach
In 6 years at helm, Coppin State posted a 51-131 overall record
The 2022-23 season was Juan Dixon’s last as head coach of the Coppin State men’s basketball program.
Dixon, a 44-year-old Baltimore native who starred at Calvert Hall and Maryland, was relieved of his duties, the school announced in a statement Wednesday afternoon.
“After fully evaluating the men’s basketball program and performance, we feel a change of leadership is necessary moving forward,” athletic director Derek Carter Carter said in the statement. “We wish Juan and his family the best for the future. We thank him for his time at Coppin.”
The school said a national search for a successor will begin immediately.
Dixon first told Stadium that he and the school had parted ways, the multiplatform sports network reported Tuesday.
Dixon, who was introduced April 26, 2017, did not immediately return phone calls and text messages seeking comment. Inquiries to a team spokesperson also went unanswered.
In six years with the Eagles, Dixon compiled a 51-131 overall record and a 37-51 mark in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. The 2019-20 team won four NCAA Division I nonconference games — the program’s most since 1993-94 — and finished with an 11-20 record (7-9 league) for its best campaign since 2013-14.
During a 2020-21 season that required delicate navigating through the coronavirus pandemic Coppin State went 9-13 overall and 8-4 in the MEAC for its first winning record in the conference in nearly a decade and captured its first regular-season title since 2003-04.
Shooting guard Anthony Tarke was named both the league’s Player and Defensive Player of the Year, and he and point guard DeJuan Clayton earned All-MEAC first-team honors. Shooting guard Nendah Tarke, Anthony Tarke’s younger brother, was voted the Rookie of the Year.
In the 2021-22 campaign the Eagles slipped back to 9-23 overall and 6-8 in the
MEAC. But that squad provided some encouragement when it reached the conference tournament final before falling to Norfolk State 72-57, just one victory away from reaching the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2007-08.
This past season was a disappointing one for Coppin State. Despite fielding a roster that included fifth-year senior point guard Sam Sessoms, who led the MEAC in points per game (20.7) and ranked second in assists (5.0) and steals (2.0) en route to being named the league’s player of the year, and Tarke, who ranked fourth in the league in rebounds (5.9) and steals (1.7) and seventh in points (12.6) and found a spot on the All-Defensive team, the squad labored to a 9-23 overall mark and 4-10 record in the conference.
Before joining the Eagles, Dixon had spent one year helming the University of the District of Columbia women’s basketball program, guiding the Firebirds to a 3-25 overall record and a 2-16 mark in the East Coast Conference in 2016-17.
Dixon’s coaching career began Nov. 27, 2013, as a special assistant under former Maryland coach Mark Turgeon. He was relieved of his duties in July 2016.
In eight NBA seasons Dixon played for four franchises, including the Washington Wizards in stints bookending his NBA career. He was drafted 17th overall by Washington in 2002.
Under the tutelage of Gary Williams, Dixon developed into a three-time All-Atlantic Coast Conference first-team selection. In 2001-02 the shooting guard propelled the Terps to their first and only NCAA championship and was named the ACC’s Player of the Year, a first-team All-American and the Final Four’s Most Outstanding Player.