Courtesy: Duke Sports Information
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). 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 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
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 its 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
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.
Capel's younger brother, Jason, was a four-year starter at
North Carolina and is currently the head coach at Appalachian State.