By Bryan Frantz

WASHINGTON — Local basketball legend Juan Dixon is taking the next step in his coaching career.

The University of the District of Columbia named the former Maryland Terrapins star its head women’s basketball coach on Friday, effective Monday. Dixon, who has served as a special assistant to Maryland’s head men’s basketball coach, Mark Turgeon, will step into his first head coaching job at the collegiate level.

Dixon also coached two teams at The Basketball Tournament: DMV’s Finest and Team Maryland. In addition to coaching, he runs Juan Dixon Basketball Camp and Premier Basketball Camp, both in Baltimore.

While at Maryland, Dixon scored a total of 2,269 points — a school record that still holds — including an average of 20.4 per game as a senior in 2001-02. He led the Terps to the national title that year, the school’s first, and was a consensus pick First-Team All-American.

He was drafted by the Wizards with the 17th pick of the 2002 NBA Draft, and he had moderate success as a rookie, averaging 6.4 points, 1.7 rebounds and 1.0 assists in 15.4 minutes per game. He averaged 9.4 points, 2.1 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.2 steals per game in his second season, starting 16 games and playing 20.8 minutes per game, but he fell off some in his third season.

His best season came in 2005-2006, with the Portland Trail Blazers, when he averaged 12.3 points, 2.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game with 42 starts, but he lasted just three more seasons in the NBA after that, bouncing around from team to team in the process. He then ventured overseas to play professionally, but he later found himself in hot water for allegedly taking performance-enhancing substances.

He eventually came back to his roots, joining Turgeon’s coaching staff. He left the staff in July as part of a “mutual decision.”

Seemingly looking to work his way up the coaching ladder, Dixon now gets to prove his mettle as a head coach for the UDC women’s team.

“There is no question Juan Dixon will take our women’s basketball program to the next level,” the school’s Director of Athletics Patricia Thomas said.

If Dixon does, in fact, take the program to the next level, it is expected that Dixon will quickly take himself to the next level of coaching.

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