Sam Dixon, Ph.D.
Sam Dixon joined the Wildcat staff on May 21, 2012 after spending the previous two seasons at Akron. Dixon brings a wealth of experience to Evanston, having been a head coach and assistant coach at the college level as well as an assistant with USA Basketball.
"It is an honor to join the women's basketball program at Northwestern," Dixon said. "The chance to work with one of the most respected and outstanding coaches in the game in Coach McKeown, coupled the opportunity to be a part of one of the most prestigious academic institutions in the country was something I wanted to be a part of. I can't wait to get started."
Dixon has been a part of two noteworthy seasons in Evanston where the Wildcats achieved a program first in 2012-13 with Maggie Lyon becoming the first Wildcat to win Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors, and he also helped guide the Wildcats back to the postseason during the 2013-14 campaign. Northwestern qualified for the WNIT and advanced to the third round, accumulating 17 wins along the way. Additionally, Dixon helped in the development of four All-Big Ten honorees during the 2013-14 season, including forward Nia Coffey, who was the first freshman in program history to achieve First Team All-Big Ten honors.
While at Akron, Dixon served as the team's academic, conditioning and defensive coordinator as well as overseeing junior college and international recruiting efforts. Dixon also acted as the position coach for the team's power forwards and centers and assisted with the program's overall recruiting, scouting and game preparation duties.
Prior to Akron, Dixon served as head coach at Furman for eight seasons. His coaching tenure marked the second longest in the history of the school's women's basketball program.
In his first three years at Furman, Dixon led the Paladins to a 52-34 record overall, including a 38-20 mark in SoCon play. During that span, he coached a SoCon Player of the Year, guard DeShara Shealey (2003), six first team All-SoCon performers, including two-time honoree guard Lee Stephens, who recently finished her career as the school's eighth all-time leading scorer (1,267 points), and 2009 NCAA 3-Point Shooting Champion, Melissa Liebschwager.
During his time at Furman, Dixon also served as an assistant coach for USA Basketball U20 and U21 World Championship teams. In the summer of 2006, he helped the U20 team to a victory over previously undefeated Brazil to capture the FIBA Americas Championship in Mexico City. The following year, he helped guide the U21 squad to a gold medal in Moscow with a victory over Australia.
Before landing at Furman, Dixon served as an assistant coach at Clemson (2000-02) and Arizona (1999). In fact, in his four years as a women's assistant coach, all four teams earned berths in the NCAA Tournament, including the 1998-99 Arizona Wildcats, who posted an 18-11 record with a 12-6 mark in the PAC-10.
In addition to coaching men's teams at NIU and KSU, Dixon also worked with men's programs at New Mexico (1996-97), Davidson (1986-87) and Northern Kentucky (1981-84). He was also the head men's basketball coach and golf coach at Denison University from 1988-91.
A 1979 physical education graduate of the College of Wooster, Dixon played four years for the Fighting Scots and in 1976 helped the team reach the NCAA South Regional finals. As a student-athlete he earned first-team All-Ohio Athletic Conference accolades in 1979, and was the team's most valuable player. A 1989 inductee into the Wooster College Hall of Fame, Dixon was also named All-Great Lakes Region and earned third team All-America status.
Dixon went on to earn a master's degree from Eastern Michigan University in 1980 and a Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico in 1997.