Jeff Capel enters his first season at the University of Pittsburgh after being announced as the 16th men’s basketball head coach in program history March 28, 2018. Capel owns a 162-110 record as a head coach at VCU and Oklahoma with three NCAA Tournament appearances, including an Elite Eight trip with Oklahoma in 2008.
Capel spent the past seven seasons at Duke University, including the past four seasons as associate head coach under Mike Krzyzewski. In seven seasons at Duke, he helped guide the Blue Devils to a 200-55 (.784) record, seven NCAA Tournament appearances, the 2017 ACC Tournament championship and the 2015 National Championship. In that time, Capel also helped secure commitments from 19 McDonald’s All-Americans as Duke signed a top-two class in each of the past five years, including the top class in 2014, 2015 and 2018.
During the 2016-17 season, he served as acting head coach for seven games following Krzyzewski’s back surgery. Capel led Duke to a 4-3 record over that stretch, including consecutive road wins at Wake Forest and Notre Dame that sparked a seven-game winning streak in the midst of ACC play. Capel also led the Blue Devils to an 89-71 win over Wake Forest during the 2017-18 season when Krzyzewski was sidelined due to an illness.
Capel was instrumental in the development of that young talent as the Blue Devils produced 15 first-round picks in the NBA Draft during his tenure, including nine lottery picks. Duke had at least one first-round selection every season and multiple first-round picks in five of the seven years with Capel on staff. Eight of the 19 McDonald’s All-Americans Capel helped recruit to Duke were lottery picks.
He was crucial to the signing of the 2014 class that was ranked No. 1 in the nation and featured Grayson Allen, Tyus Jones, Jahlil Okafor and Justise Winslow. That class was the catalyst for Duke’s fifth national championship.
Capel’s close work with Jabari Parker (2014) and Okafor (2015) led to both being named All-Americans, earning National Freshman of the Year honors and being top-three picks in their respective NBA Drafts. Winslow and Jones were also taken 10th and 24th overall, respectively, in the 2015 NBA Draft.
Capel was vital to the rapid ascent of Brandon Ingram from elite recruit to NBA lottery pick, helping mold him into a Freshman All-American and the ACC Freshman of the Year in 2016 before the Lakers took him with the No. 2 overall pick in that year’s draft.
In 2016-17, Capel was a major influence on Jayson Tatum, an All-ACC selection and the No. 3 overall choice in the NBA Draft by the Boston Celtics.
In his final season at Duke, Capel mentored National Freshman of the Year and consensus first team All-America selection Marvin Bagley as well as All-ACC selections Wendell Carter, Jr. and Gary Trent, Jr.
Capel also helped Duke secure one of the highest rated recruiting classes in NCAA history in 2018 as the Blue Devils signed the top three players in the class – R.J. Barrett, Cameron Reddish and Zion Williamson – along with two additional five-star players in Tre Jones and Joey Baker.
Capel played a prominent role with USA Basketball during Krzyzewski’s last four years as head coach of the U.S. National Team. After serving as a court coach and scout for the squad in 2013, Capel was a staff assistant for the USA’s gold-medal effort at the 2014 FIBA World Cup in Spain and the United States’ unprecedented run to a third consecutive gold medal at the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Capel also has head coaching experience with USA Basketball. In the summer of 2010, he led a USA team, featuring former Duke stars Kyrie Irving and Austin Rivers along with current NBA standout Bradley Beal, to the gold medal at the FIBA Americas U18 Championship in San Antonio, Texas. He was also an assistant coach for the gold medal-winning U.S. team at the 2005 World University Games in Turkey, a squad that featured Duke All-American and two-time National Defensive Player of the Year Shelden Williams. Capel was the head coach at Oklahoma (2006-11) and Virginia Commonwealth (2002-06) for nine seasons prior to joining the Duke staff.
While at OU, Capel led the Sooners to an 83-69 record with two NCAA Tournament berths. His crowning achievement in Norman was the development of 2009 National Player of the Year Blake Griffin, who became the first Oklahoma player to be taken No. 1 overall in the NBA Draft. Griffin won both NBA Rookie of the Year and the NBA Slam Dunk Contest in 2011.
Capel’s final two seasons at Oklahoma were plagued by injuries and off-court issues with some of the team’s top players. During his tenure, Capel secured commitments from four McDonald’s All-Americans: Blake Griffin, Willie Warren, Tiny Gallon and Tommy Mason-Griffin.
He saw four players - Blake Griffin, Taylor Griffin, Warren and Gallon - selected in the 2009 and 2010 NBA Drafts. Capel also recruited Romero Osby, who was selected in the second round of the 2013 NBA Draft, to Oklahoma.
In 2008-09, Capel led the Sooners to a 30-6 record and a trip to the NCAA Elite Eight. Oklahoma started the season 25-1 before Griffin was sidelined with a concussion in late February. The Sooners earned a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament and posted wins over Morgan State, Michigan and Syracuse to reach the Elite Eight. Griffin would earn National Player of the Year, Big 12 Player of the Year and consensus first team All-America honors before declaring for the NBA Draft.
In just his second season, Capel guided Oklahoma to a 23-12 record and a trip to the 2008 NCAA Tournament. The Sooners topped St. Joseph’s in the opening round before falling to third-seed Louisville in the round of 32. He saw freshman sensation Blake Griffin average 14.7 points and 9.1 rebounds per game en route to earning all-district, all-conference and all-rookie team honors.
Capel guided the Sooners to a 16-15 mark in his first season in Norman. With a depleted roster caused by the departure of three signees, Oklahoma got off to a solid start and was 15-7 overall before dropping its final seven games in conference play.
Capel compiled a 79-41 record, including a 50-22 mark in conference play, in four years as head coach at VCU before being named head coach at Oklahoma on April 11, 2006. He led the Rams to 18 or more wins in all four seasons to go along with a pair of postseason appearances.
In 2005-06, VCU posted a 19-10 record behind Nick George (16.9 ppg.) and B.A. Walker (11.7 ppg.). Future two-time CAA Player of the Year and NBA first round draft pick Eric Maynor was a freshman on the team as well.
VCU made its second postseason appearance under Capel in 2004-05 with an NIT appearance. The Rams went 19-13 overall and 13-5 in the CAA to finish tied for second. Following the season, Capel was named an assistant coach for the U.S. Men’s World University Games. He helped guide the team led by head coach Jay Wright to the gold medal in Izmir, Turkey.
In 2003-04, Capel guided the Rams to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in almost a decade and nearly scored a first-round upset of fourth-seeded Wake Forest. The Rams won the CAA regular season and tournament titles en route to a 23-8 record, including a 14-4 mark in conference play. Senior guard Domonic Jones averaged 16.3 points and 4.4 rebounds per game to earn CAA Player of the Year honors, becoming just the second player in program history to claim the conference’s top honor.
Capel was named head coach at VCU prior to the 2002-03 season, becoming the youngest head coach in Division I men’s college basketball at 27 years of age. He led the Rams to an 18-10 mark and a tie for second place in the CAA in his inaugural season at the helm of the program.
Capel served as an assistant coach under Mack McCarthy at VCU during the 2001-02 season. The Rams went 21-11 overall and reached the title game of the CAA Tournament. McCarthy resigned following the season and Capel was immediately promoted to the head job.
Capel began his coaching career as an assistant to his father, Jeff Capel, at Old Dominion for the 2000-01 season. His father had a distinguished coaching career in the NBA with the Charlotte Bobcats (2004-11) and Philadelphia 76ers (2011-13), as well as in the college ranks at Wake Forest (1986-89), Fayetteville State (1989-93), North Carolina A&T (1993-94) and Old Dominion (1994-2001).
Following his collegiate career at Duke, Capel played professionally for two years. He spent the 1997-98 season with the CBA’s Grand Rapids Hoops. In 1999-00, he played in France before returning to Grand Rapids.
Capel served as a team captain in both 1996 and 1997 and earned third-team All-ACC accolades as a junior in 1996.
He made an immediate impact at Duke and was a four-year starter for the Blue Devils, leading the team to 83 wins and a trip to the 1994 national championship game. He racked up 1,601 points, 433 assists and 220 three-point field goals, finishing among Duke’s career leaders in minutes played, three-point field goals made, three-point field goal percentage and assists.
A standout prep performer, Capel was named the 1993 North Carolina High School Player of the Year after leading Fayetteville South View to a 31-1 record and a state championship.
Capel graduated from Duke with a B.A. in history in 1997. He and his wife, Kanika, married in 2003. They have two daughters, Cameron and Sydney, and a son, Elijah.