As Jeff Capel begins to lay the foundation to bring Pitt basketball back to prominence, his time served under Mike Krzyzewski has prepared him for the challenge.
Capel, who was an assistant at Duke for the last seven seasons and played for Coach K from 1993-97, replaces the fired Kevin Stallings.
Krzyzewski lauded the hire and is proud of Capel for getting the opportunity.
“Pittsburgh just made an amazing hire to lead its men’s basketball program,” Coach K said in a statement. “Having come from a proud basketball family, Jeff Capel is one of the most dynamic coaches in the country. He possesses championship-level experience as both a head and assistant coach, as well as distinct knowledge of the Atlantic Coast Conference that will benefit Pitt immediately.”
In his opening press conference, Capel didn’t hesitate to thank the man that’s made him a better basketball coach and person.
Jeff Capel on what he took from his 7 years at Duke: pic.twitter.com/r23HzdcTFf
— Mark Armstrong (@ArmstrongABC11) March 28, 2018
“I learned during my seven years at Duke I think the biggest thing is how to really run a program,” Capel said. “I thought that I was good before but I know that I’ll be better now because I’ve had a chance to sit beside, be with every day and have these intimate conversations with a guy that I think is the best that’s ever done it.”
Capel started his coaching career at Old Dominion as an assistant and then became head coach at VCU in 2002. After guiding the Rams to their first NCAA Tournament in eight years, he took his first Power 5 gig at Oklahoma. In 2009, Capel led the Sooners to the Elite Eight.
After Oklahoma fired him in 2011, Capel immediately joined the Duke coaching staff, where he spent the last seven years. He acted as interim head coach twice last season when Krzyzewski missed games due to an illness and recovering from knee surgery.
Coach K vs. Coach C is definitely going to be a matchup to mark on your calendar for next season.