Baltimore native and RHOP husband Juan Dixon has his work cut out for him after being named the head coach of Coppin State University’s men’s basketball team, but he has a plan to put the Baltimore school on the basketball map. Juan Dixon played basketball at Calvert Hall for high school, University of Maryland right up 95 for college, and for part of his NBA career, he played for the Washington Wizards in Washington, D.C. This is Juan Dixon’s first gig as a Division I head coach, and he is happy that he gets to do it in his hometown. Dixon’s priority is to overhaul the Coppin State program and have the team in NCAA tournament contention.
However, Juan Dixon is no stranger to a challenge as his start in life was rougher than most. Both of Dixon’s parents were heroin addicts, and so his childhood was beyond chaotic. Still, the RHOP husband was able to commit to his basketball dreams and was recruited by Gary Williams, the then head coach of the University of Maryland Terps. However, before Juan could graduate from high school, both of his parents died of AIDS, and he then moved in with his grandparents. Dixon was able to find some stability when he married his high school girlfriend, Real Housewives of Potomac star Robyn Dixon, but at this time the two are divorced but continue to live together for the benefit of their two boys.
Juan Dixon said that even though he remained in the Baltimore/Washington area since he retired from the NBA, accepting the coaching job at Coppin State University is a homecoming of sorts. Coppin State put up a billboard with Dixon’s giant smiling face on I-83 welcoming him.
“Welcome Coach Juan Dixon/Coppin Takes Big Shots.”
The warm Baltimore welcome makes Dixon smile as he can return home as a sort of conquering hero.
“You come around 83, that thing smacks you in the face, right? I’m blessed, man. Things come full circle, you know?”
Though Coppin State has struggled in recent years, the men’s basketball team did have a number of successes under coach Ron “Fang” Mitchell, winning conference championships and securing seeds in the NCAA tournament. But it’s been nearly a decade since the Coppin State Eagles have had a winning season and the last three years were beyond depressing.
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However, Juan Dixon says he is up to the challenge and is bringing his own coaching philosophy to Coppin State which he calls practical and intuitive. Dixon who has played guard for his entire basketball career believes that from that position, he has a good understanding about how the ball should be moved on the court. However, Dixon believes that the players need to have the ability to call their own shots.
“Definitely some structure, but a lot of freedom to allow them to take advantage of their God-given abilities. We’re gonna have principles in place, but we’re not gonna be the type of staff that call plays every time down the floor.”
Dixon believes that another benefit of taking the position at Coppin State was that he could bring his own coaching staff on board. Juan was able to hire John Auslander as his assistant coach from his time coaching at the University of Maryland under head coach Mark Turgeon. Moreover, though Juan Dixon seems to be an easygoing guy who is quick to smile, his players shouldn’t see that as Coach Juan being a pushover.
Dixon says that academics need to be a priority, and he expects his players to be leaders in the community.
“We’ve got some guys that were messing around. There’s no more slacking moving forward.”
Head Coach Dixon is excited about his new position and a new title and is honored that the future of Coppin State basketball is in his hands.
“I’m extremely confident that we’ll be able to turn our program around together. Derek has given me an unbelievable opportunity. It’s an opportunity that I know that we will take advantage of, and help get Coppin back to a level where we deserve to be.”
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The position at Coppin State was literally the dream job for Juan Dixon, and even though the school’s athletic director confirmed that Dixon was not on the short list for the position that opened up after head coach Michael Grant was fired for lack of performance. However, when Dixon heard about the opening, he called his lawyer in Baltimore and told him that he was laser-focused on getting the job.
“I’m going to get that job.”
Moreover, AD Derek Carter said that the drive and tenacity that Dixon showed made him move Juan up his list to the point that he couldn’t picture anyone else in the position.
“His tenacity, his determination, his passion, his relentless attitude and finally his strong desire to give back to his home city of Baltimore — these were all the traits we were seeking in the new leader of our program.”
Do you think that settling into his dream coaching position will be good for the Dixon family situation on RHOP?
[Featured Image by Patrick Semansky/AP Images]