Juan Dixon to Take Over as Head Coach of Coppin State Basketball Program

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Juan Dixon playing for the Washington Wizards during his final season in 2009. Photo via Keith Allison/Wikimedia Commons.

Terps great Juan Dixon is reportedly returning to Baltimore to coach at Coppin State University.

According to Don Markus, the Baltimore Sun‘s University of Maryland men’s basketball writer, unnamed sources have said Dixon recently accepted an offer to become head coach of the school’s basketball program.

On a phone call Monday morning, a Coppin State athletics spokesman said an announcement is forthcoming this week about the head coaching job, but didn’t confirm Dixon’s hiring.

“Nothing has been announced from Coppin State University on that matter,” the spokesman said.


Dixon is best known for his time with the Terps from 1998 to 2002, namely for leading the school to its first and only NCAA men’s basketball championship during his final year, as well as a trip to the Final Four in 2001.

He never quite achieved the same glory in the NBA after being drafted 17th by the Washington Wizards in 2002, though he did have a solid seven-year career in the league and was a strong contributor in stints for the Wizards and Portland Trail Blazers.

After several years playing pro basketball overseas, Dixon returned to the United States to coach, first as a special assistant to Terps head coach Mark Turgeon and later as the women’s head basketball coach for the University of the District of Columbia.

Dixon has deep Baltimore roots, having grown up in the city and attended Lake Clifton High School as a freshman before transferring to Calvert Hall in Towson. His aunt is former Mayor Sheila Dixon.

His family life has been well chronicled. After becoming a household name in college, broadcasters shared his story of being raised by two parents in the city who were addicted to heroin and passed away when he was just a teenager.

That story gained new legs in recent years after Dixon learned his childhood father wasn’t his biological parent, and that his father-at-birth had actual been watching him succeed the whole time. HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel” recently spotlighted their newfound bond.

Hopefully, the West Baltimore school’s basketball program will benefit from Dixon’s leadership. The team has struggled mightily in recent years, going 25-69 in the last three seasons under recently fired head coach Michael Grant.

Dixon’s reported hiring is the second major basketball-related news for the historically black university in the last month. In March, ESPN announced that New York Knicks star and native Baltimorean Carmelo Anthony will host the final two rounds of “The Basketball Tournament,” a nationally televised 5-on-5 competition, at the school in August.

Ethan McLeod
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