Former Duke standout Jeff Capel joined the Duke staff as an assistant coach on May 6, 2011 after spending the previous nine years as the head coach at Virginia Commonwealth (2002-06) and Oklahoma (2006-11). He was promoted to associate coach in July of 2013 and then named associate head coach prior to the 2014-15 season.
Capel owns a 175-110 record as a head coach with three NCAA Tournament appearances, including a trip to the Elite Eight in 2008 with Oklahoma.
In three seasons at Duke, Capel has seen the program compile a 83- 22 record with a 40-12 mark in the ACC. The Blue Devils have earned a top three seed in the NCAA Tournament three times with a trip the Elite Eight in 2013. Capel has also been instrumental on the recruiting trail helping Duke secure committments from six McDonald’s All-America selections over the last two years. The Blue Devils’ 2014 recruiting class was tabbed No. 1 in the country and features four players rated in the top 40 of the Recruiting Services Consensus Index.
Capel took over as court coach and scout with the USA Basketball Men’s Senior National Team in July of 2013 and assisted the staff throughout Team USA’s gold-medal run at the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain.
Last season, Capel played a key role in the develpment of National Freshman of the Year Jabari Parker as well as All-ACC wing Rodney Hood as Duke posted a 26-9 record overall with a 13-5 mark in league play. The high-scoring tandem combined for 35.2 points and 12.6 rebounds per game in guiding the Blue Devils to the ACC title game and the program’s 18th straight 20-win season.
In 2012-13, Capel helped guide Duke to a 30-win season and a 14-4 record in league play. The Blue Devils went 6-3 against AP top 25 teams with wins over No. 2 Louisville, No. 3 Kentucky, No. 4 Ohio State and No. 5 Miami. He saw the senior trio of Seth Curry, Ryan Kelly and Mason Plumlee combine to average 37.5 points and 17.8 rebounds per game. Curry and Plumlee both earned second team All-America honors as well as first team All-ACC accolades in 2013-14. Capel was also instrumental in the development of Quinn Cook. The sophomore point guard recorded 21 double-figure scoring games while averaging 11.7 points, 3.8 rebounds and 5.3 assists per game. Cook was named MVP of the Battle 4 Atlantis and was also a third team All-ACC pick by ACSMA.
In his first year back in Durham, the Blue Devils posted a 27-7 record, including a 13-3 mark in the ACC. Duke earned a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament and finished the year with 10 wins over NCAA Tournament teams. Capel helped mentor a trio of All-ACC performers (Austin Rivers, Seth Curry and Mason Plumlee) in 2011-12.
He began his coaching career as an assistant coach under his father, Jeff Capel II, at Old Dominion University for the 2000–01 season. In 2001, he joined the coaching staff at VCU as an assistant and was promoted to head coach of the Rams for the 2002–03 season—making him, at the time, the youngest head coach in Division I men’s college basketball (27 years old).
Capel guided the Rams to an 18-10 mark overall in 2002-03 to tie a school record for wins by a first year coach. VCU also went 12-6 in league play to finish second in the Colonial Athletic Association.
In 2003-04, VCU’s CAA Tournament championship game victory over George Mason catapulted the Rams to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1996. The Rams lost in the first round to Chris Paul and Wake Forest, but not before putting a major scare into the fourth-seeded Demon Deacons, 79-78. VCU closed the year 23-8 overall and 14-4 in league play. The 23 wins were the most for the program since the 1995-96 season and marked the 11th 20-win season in school history.
Capel’s 2004-05 squad finished 19-13 and competed in the National Invitation Tournament, marking just the third time in program history that VCU made consecutive postseason appearances. In his final year, Capel guided the Rams to a 19-10 record, including an 11-7 mark in league play.
Capel compiled a 79-41 (.658) record, including a 50-22 (.694) mark in the CAA, over four years as head coach at Virginia Commonwealth prior to being named the head coach at Oklahoma on April 11, 2006.
While at Oklahoma, Capel led the Sooners to a 96-69 (.582) record overall with two NCAA Tournament trips (2008 & 2009) and was a major factor in the recruitment and development of 2009 National Player of the Year Blake Griffin. Griffin would go on to become the first player from Oklahoma to be selected No. 1 in the NBA Draft, the 2011 NBA Rookie of the Year and the 2011 NBA Slam Dunk champion.
In his first year in Norman, Capel guided his squad to a 16-15 mark despite the departure of three key members of the recruiting class prior to his arrival.
Capel signed Griffin, a McDonald’s All-American, in his first full recruiting class and the Sooners quickly showed vast signs of improvement. Oklahoma finished the year 23-12 overall and 9-7 in Big 12 play. The Sooners reached the semifinals of the Big 12 tournament and earned a sixth-seed in the 2008 NCAA Tournament. Capel earned his first NCAA Tournament victory with an opening round win over St. Joseph’s before losing to third-seeded Louisville.
In 2008-09, Oklahoma experienced one of the best seasons in school history as the Capel-led Sooners finished 30-6 for the program’s fifth 30-win season all-time and reached the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament. The Sooners opened the year 25-1 to reach No. 2 in the AP Poll before Griffin was sidelined for a week with a concussion suffered during a late February contest. Capel’s Sooners were granted a No. 2 seed for the NCAA Tournament, and easily beat Morgan State, Michigan and Syracuse to reach the Elite Eight. Oklahoma fell to eventual NCAA champion North Carolina, 72-60, despite another outstanding performance from Griffin. The unanimous All-America selection and National Player of the Year finished the NCAA Tournament with 114 points and 60 rebounds, becoming the first player to reach such milestones in over 40 years.
With the early departure of Griffin as well as the graduation of two other starters, Oklahoma was left with an inexperienced although talented team for the 2009-10 season. With two returning starters and three McDonald’s All-Americans on the roster the Sooners were ranked in the top 20 of the preseason polls. After a 13-9 start to the season, injuries and youth caught up to the Sooners as the team dropped its final nine games of the season to finish 13-18 overall.
Capel’s roster was further depleted for the 2010-11 season as three highly recruited players left school early. In all the Sooners had to replace four of their top five scorers heading into Capel’s fifth season at Oklahoma. Despite a roster that featured just two upperclassmen who would play more than 10 minutes per game and two players taller than 6-foot-7, the Sooners battled to a 14-18 record on the year. Seven of Oklahoma’s top eight scorers on the season were freshmen or sophomores, and those seven players accounted for 70 percent of the team’s points on the year.
Capel also has coaching experience on the international level with USA Basketball. In the summer of 2010, he led a USA team featuring Kyrie Irving and Austin Rivers to a 5-0 record and the gold medal at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship in San Antonio, Texas. He was also an assistant coach on a gold-medal-winning USA Men’s World University Games Team that featured Duke’s Shelden Williams and went 8-0 in Turkey in 2005.
Following his career at Duke, Capel played professionally for two years. He spent the 1997-98 season playing for the Continental Basketball Association’s Grand Rapids Hoops. In 1999-2000, he played in France before returning to Grand Rapids. Capel was also drafted in 1997 by the Raleigh Cougars of the USBL.
During his successful playing career as a Blue Devil, Capel racked up 1,601 points, 433 assists and 220 three-point field goals. He finished his career among Duke’s all-time leaders in minutes played, three-point field goal percentage, three-point field goals and assists. He was a four-year starter for the Blue Devils, helping the team to an 83-46 record and a trip to the 1994 NCAA Championship game. Capel started 28 games as a freshman for a Duke squad that lost to Arkansas in the 1994 national championship game, 76-72.
On February 2, 1995 in the regular season game played at home against North Carolina, with Duke trailing 95–92 at the end of the first overtime, Capel hit a running 40-foot shot at the buzzer which sent the game into double-overtime. Although Duke lost the game 102–100, Capel’s shot was hailed as one of the most memorable plays in Duke basketball history and it was nominated for an ESPY Award for College Basketball Play of the Year.
Capel led the Blue Devils in scoring as a junior (16.6 ppg.) and helped Duke to a No. 8 final AP ranking as a senior. He averaged 26.5 points over Duke’s two NCAA Tournament games in 1997, the same season he was named an Academic All-ACC selection.
A standout prep performer, Capel was named the 1993 North Carolina High School Player of the Year after averaging 23.8 points, 5.1 rebounds and 7.7 assists for 31-1 state champion Fayetteville South View. He also set school career records for points (2,066), rebounds (668) and assists (663).
Capel, who graduated from Duke with a bachelor’s degree in history in 1997, and his wife, Kanika, married in 2003. They have two daughters, Cameron and Sydney, and a son, Elijiah.