DURHAM – New Duke assistant coach Jeff Capel addressed the local media today on the campus of Duke University. The former Oklahoma and Virginia Commonwealth coach brings a lot of experience to the basketball staff and after a whirlwind move into temporary housing he is already settling in to his duties, namely the recruiting trail.
“Life can only be understood backwards,” were words Capels Grandmother shared with him and that advice now makes sense to the former Blue Devil player.
“Control what you can control, it’s a tough profession but a rewarding one,” said Capel, who continued, ”It was hard, difficult and I didn’t like it but it was whats supposed to happen,” in reference to his release at Oklahoma.
The Sooners loss is the Blue Devils gain. Capel brings a new set of eyes to the program and the fact he has had such experience on the sidelines will certainly help him with his new gig.
“Duke helped prepare me for life, not just coach and the program but Duke,” said the former Fayetteville native. While at Duke Capel played for the national championship, something he points to as the highlight of his career along with a steller game against Purdue in the regional finals which helped the Devils advance.
When asked how he could help the program, Capel stated, “I don’t know right now. Maybe I can understand some things during a day better than some of the other guys,” referring to his head coaching experience.
Capel joins former teammates and friends Chris Collins, Steve Wojociechowski and Nate James at Duke, giving him a comfort level from day one. “Chris and Wojo are trained to be head coaches and they will be successful when they head out. I have been a coach and I thou\ght I was really go four great years at VCU. I wanted to get it back going. When I took the OU job it was under turmoil which may have chosen to forget.”
And while there are some familiarities coming back to Duke, Capel sees changes since his playing days which ended in 1997. “It’s different. I would periodically visit campus but not for an extended length of time. When I walked into Cameron I didn’t know the seats were now blue. But while the campus is different, the expectations for excellence are the same.”
When asked about the progression of his hiring, Capel said he was fired on a Monday in Norman, flew back Tuesday and Wednesday he decided to go by the Duke campus just to say hello. During that visit he talked with Coach K briefly where he was asked of his interest in a created special assistant slot.
Capel wanted to check his options and he took a look at some head coaching vacancies and even looked into a chance to become a TV analyst.
Krzyzewski later contacted Capel again saying the best way to utilize his talents at Duke was to offer him a spot as an assistant coach. It didn’t take long for Capel to accept the position. “It was a no brainer,” said Capel. “I have trusted the man since I was 16 years old and that trust has never changed.”
Capel officially started his duties last Friday and he worked with a returnee individually this morning. He has already started to get accustomed with the players Duke is recruiting as well and he will be out on the road in July.
“One thing about Coach is he is always willing to change and adapt to help a team become the best they can be. His objective is what is best for Duke and that will be my mission here to help Duke be the best it can be.”