Jason Capel is in his first season as an assistant coach at Pitt and his sixth season in the Division I coaching ranks, including a four-year run as head coach at Appalachian State. Capel, the younger brother of Pitt head coach Jeff Capel, spent the previous three seasons as a college basketball television analyst for ESPN, the ACC Network and Raycom Sports.
“I am excited to have Jason on the staff here at Pitt,” said head coach Jeff Capel. “There is no one in college basketball that has a better understanding of me and how I want to build the program. Jason has terrific recruiting connections and is an excellent teacher of the game. His knowledge of the ACC and ability to connect with student-athletes will be invaluable to our staff.”
Capel became the youngest head coach in the NCAA April 21, 2010, when he was introduced as the head coach at Appalachian State. He went on to post one winning season and was 53-70 overall in four seasons at the helm of the program.
In 2010-11, Capel led the Mountaineers to a 16-15 record, including a 10-8 mark and a third place finish in the Southern Conference North Division. He also guided Appalachian State to a 10-8 conference mark and a tie for second finish in 2013.
In his only season as an assistant coach, Capel helped lead the Mountaineers to the second-most victories in school history (24), their first Southern Conference Tournament title-game appearance since 2000 and a berth in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament (CIT), only their fourth postseason appearance since joining the NCAA Division I ranks in 1973. Appalachian State’s CIT wins over Harvard and Marshall, which earned it a berth in the tournament’s semifinals, were the first DI postseason victories in school history.
Following the conclusion of his playing career, he spent two years as a college basketball analyst for ESPNU and Raycom Sports before joining ASU’s staff prior to the 2009-10 season.
Capel is a member of one of college basketball’s most distinguished coaching families. His late father, Jeff, compiled a 201-163 record with three NCAA Tournament appearances in 12 seasons as head coach at Old Dominion, North Carolina A&T and Fayetteville State prior to moving to the professional ranks with the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats and Philadelphia 76ers.
His brother, Jeff, has put together an impressive coaching resume that includes a 162-110 record and three NCAA Tournament appearances, including an Elite Eight trip in 2008, as a head coach at VCU and Oklahoma.
After graduating from North Carolina with a B.A. in communication in 2002, Capel embarked on a professional playing career, which included successful stints in the NBA Developmental League and leagues in Japan, Italy and Serbia. In his first season as a pro, he averaged 11.3 points and 3.7 rebounds per game to help lead the NBDL’s Fayetteville Patriots, where he was coached by his father, Jeff, to a league-best 32-18 record and a D-League Finals appearance.
Capel first burst on to the national scene as a star forward at North Carolina from 1998-2002, where he was a two-time all-Atlantic Coast Conference selection (2001 and ‘02) and the Tar Heels’ leader in scoring (15.6 ppg.), rebounds (8.6 rpg.) and steals (29) as a senior. He helped lead UNC to the Final Four in 2000, recorded the second triple-double in UNC history with 16 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists against Buffalo during the 2000-01 season and was a candidate for 2002 Wooden Award, which is presented annually to college basketball’s most outstanding player.
A native of Fayetteville, N.C., Capel was a McDonald’s All-American and ranked as high as the nation’s No. 5 high-school player after concluding his prep career at St. John’s at Prospect Hall (Frederick, Md.), where he helped lead his team to the USA Today National Championship in 1998.
He spent his freshman and sophomore years at Indian River High School in Chesapeake, Va., where he was named Virginia’s Player of the Year as a sophomore. He began his prep career as an eighth-grader, when he made the varsity team at Greensboro Day School while his father was head coach at N.C. A&T.
Capel and his wife, Ashley, reside in Cranberry with their two sons, Myles and Jayce.