Jeff Capel was widely speculated to be the successor to Mike Krzyzewski when retirement finally called for the long-time Duke basketball coach. After all, Capel was a Coach K product forged in the Blue Devil basketball fires of the 1990s when the program peaked at both ESPN saturation and lack of attention.
Capel's CV goes beyond his Duke connections. He was raised by a college basketball coach; his father Jeff Capel II spent eight seasons in North Carolina A & T and Old Dominion. He had even won as a coach at Virginia Commonwealth and Oklahoma, records and NCAA tournament appearances as head coach before his shots on the latter brought him back to Durham and the coach who prepared him as a player.
But Jeff Capel is no longer an assistant coach at Duke University. Instead, he will head coach a program that faces the Blue Devils twice a year in the ACC game ̵
Capel is reportedly going to accept the Panther's open coaching position after the school subsequently fired Kevin Stallings for only two seasons – and only four conference wins – under his belt. The move is a second chance to run a Power 5 program, but it also raises some questions for Duke. Namely, who will be next in line to replace a outgoing Krzyzewski after his top assistant is gone?
Hurley comes from a number of great coaches; his father Bobby Sr. was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame after winning 28 New Jersey State Championships at St. Anthony High School. His lead led him to Duke, where he became two-time All-American and two-time NCAA champion under coach K. After some time away from the sport, he joined Wagner in 2010 as an assistant coach – and his star has grown exponentially in the eight years since.
Two seasons with Wagner and a coaching at the University of Rhode Island led him to a head coaching job in Buffalo, where he coached the Bulls on two division crowns and the university's first NCAA tournament offer. His quick success brought him a chance in Arizona State, where a couple of lush seasons led to a breakthrough in 2017-18. The Sun Devils were as high as No. 3 this winter after overthrowing teams like Xavier and Kansas, but they barely hobbled into the big dance before bowing down into the First Four.
That took some of the bloom from his rose, but he is a duke alum with a solid cv. That will keep him in the entertainment for a long time.
Speaking of Duke graduates who have proven they can win at schools with stringent academic requirements, Collins is the only coach in Northwest history to take the Wildcats to the NCAA tournament , The former Blue Devil is another 1990s Coach K product that spent 13 years as an assistant coach before being lured into the Big Ten.
Northwestern looked like a zero-win situation, but Collins was able to win success from a basketball program whose foundation was made by Ritzcrackers. As the Wildcats fall behind in 2017-18, the goodwill from their run to the Round of 32 last March will make Collins a coveted candidate at Duke – and elsewhere.
Amaker's first trainer at Seton Hall ended in disappointment and his second appearance in scandal-stricken Michigan reached its peak with a NIT title. None of these sections indicate the qualifications needed to advance to one of the most prestigious positions in college basketball, but his work, which has garnered over eleven years in Harvard victories and Ivy League titles, has contributed to his image rehabilitating as a coach] Amaker has proved that he can win in non-traditional situations after beating the Crimson in the top 25 in 2012 and 2015. He stepped out twice from the first round of the NCAA tournament, although he has not been there since 2015. Point Guard has been an assistant to Krzyzewski in years, proving that he can run a clean program. He has rejected overtures to leave Boston in the past – could he wait for the right job to open in Durham?
An extreme Duke move would be to replace one with the impossible. spell polish surname with another who came to embody the ground-slapping intensity (or doofiness) demanded coach K. Wojciechowski played from 1994 to 1998 for the Blue Devils, spent a year basketball abroad and then came back to one Assist role coach to take on his alma mater. He was promoted to associate head coach before getting a promotion when Marquette hired him for his top job.
Wojo's term in Milwaukee was not particularly successful. He has led the Eagles to a 60-40 record over the last three years following a rebuilding season in his first year with the team. That has led to a single NCAA tournament venue. Marquette was not named head coach in any of the four seasons in the AP poll.
Jeff Capel (still)
Capel moved to the job in Pittsburgh, but that does not disqualify him from returning to his alma mater. While the Panthers are likely to bring their new head coach to an expensive buyout, the cost is something an elite program like Duke can afford. Pitt, who had spent just under $ 10 million just to keep Kevin Stallings from training his team, would probably welcome a small cash injection.
The question is, if his time was busy resurrecting the hollowed-out shell of a once-proud program, Capel's stock would be damaged to the point where Duke would no longer consider him a top candidate. Pittsburgh has just been in the worst season since attending a conference in 1976. A list of three-star talent is poised to move from Oakland en masse. The Panthers are a total reconstruction.
But that's good for Capel because his first years at work will be a lossless situation. If Pitt is tending to move up – even if the team does not get any big offers – it will be enough to increase his trainer's stock and prove that he can win without committing NCAA violations. That could be enough to lure him back to Duke.
So, how do they stand?
Capel is a joker, now that he's with Pitt, but his new job should not affect his candidacy too much unless he panzers the Panthers – a team already in the tank. Here's how I would give this Duke grad the chance to return to the sideline at the Cameron Indoor Stadium:
5. Steve Wojciechowski
4. Tommy Amaker
3. Chris Collins
2. Jeff Capel
1. Bob Hurley