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Report: Duke Assistant Jeff Capel to be Pitt’s next Head Coach

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It’s over. Heather Lyke has found Pitt’s next basketball coach.

NCAA Basketball: Boston College at Duke Mark Dolejs-USA TODAY Sports

We are on day 19 of the 2018 Pitt Men’s Basketball head coaching search. This is officially the longest major sport Pitt coaching search since possibly Agnus Berenato’s hiring in 2003 for women’s basketball. For football, it goes back to at least Walt Harris’ hiring in 1997.

And it’s over.

Jeff Capel has been an assistant for Duke since 2011, and was previously the head coach at Oklahoma before that where he had mixed success included an 30 win season including an Elite 8, but also two of Oklahoma’s worst seasons in its history as well as a recruiting violation scandal. We’ll dive a bit more into his history in a later post

All things considered, this is a pretty good hire. Capel has head coaching experience, is a very accomplished recruiter, and was considered by many to be a very likely candidate to be Duke’s next coach whenever Coach K retired. Heather Lyke was certainly getting a ton of flak for how this search was going, but if you look at the timeline this way, it’s certainly very reasonable:

  1. Dan Hurley is top target, wait for Dan Hurley to exit NCAA tourney
  2. Wait for Dan Hurley’s decision.
  3. Interview several candidates, hone in on a top few.
  4. Hire Jeff Capel.

From Dan Hurley turning Pitt down to today’s report, 5 days passed. Heather Lyke clearly had a number 1 target, and readjusted quickly to get her guy. Also, based on most reports, fighting back against a huge “SEAN MILLER 4 PITT” contingent of boosters and fans. If you factor in that she might have had to wait for Duke to lose to get Capel, she may have simply been looking at the other mentioned names as backups.

Pitt had been a laughing stock the last few days, and now many in the national media are praising the hire. This Easter weekend will be much better than 2016’s.

Welcome to Pitt, Jeff Capel!