Duke Adds Jeff Capel As Assistant Coach

Duke has added Jeff Capel as an assistant coach, deepening the talent next to Coach K on the bench.

“He is an outstanding coach and will be a great fit in our program,” Mike Krzyzewski said in a statement released by Duke. “Jeff has been a highly successful head coach at the Division I level and he will continue that here at Duke. Adding a coach of his caliber will make everyone in our program better.”

Capel was fired by Oklahoma earlier this year after back-to-back losing seasons at the Big 12 school, even though he still had five years left on his contract.

“After careful consideration, it has been determined that our men’s basketball program would be best served by a change of direction,” OU athletic director Joe Castiglione said in a statement. “Jeff Capel has worked diligently on our behalf, and for that we are appreciative. He has many outstanding qualities and we wish him success as he moves forward.”

He was 96-69 in five seasons in Norman, but just 17-36 in the past two seasons after taking a Blake Griffin-lead Sooners team to the Elite 8 in 2009.

Before his time at Oklahoma, Capel served as the head coach of Virginia Commonwealth for 4 seasons and had a 79-41 record while collecting one trip each to the NCAA and NIT tournaments.

Capel, a former four-year starter at Duke, is best known for hitting a running 40-footer against North Carolina in 1995 to send the game into a second overtime, a game Duke eventually lost.

The ex-Oklahoma coach joins a staff that includes Steve Wojciechowski and Chris Collins. Nate James, a Duke assistant coach for the past 3 seasons, has been named a special assistant. As a special assistant James will continue to help develop in-game strategies, but will not be involved in on-court coaching.

Capel adds nine years of head coaching experience to a staff that has a pair of 10-year assistant coaches (Wojo & Collins). Could this be Coach K and the university looking forward to the day when he steps down as the head coach of the Duke men’s basketball team?

As a Top 3 job, Duke will have its choice of coaches when Coach K finally steps down (hopefully 5 or more years from now after another National Championship or two) and Duke maybe planting seeds now for that transition to take place.

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