Pitt head coach Jeff Capel tested positive for COVID-19, according to a statement from Pitt, and as a result, he will not coach the Panthers on Tuesday, when they take on Louisville in their second ACC matchup of the season. However, no one else in the program tested positive, meaning only Capel will miss time.
With Capel out, Pitt associate head coach Tim O’Toole could be placed in charge on a temporary basis, or Capel’s three assistant coaches could share head coaching duties. No determination has been made yet, but Milan Brown, Jason Capel and Tim O’Toole have all served as head coaches in the past.
The positive test for Capel is the first COVID-related issue Pitt has run into in the 2020-21 season. Other programs, such as Pitt’s crosstown rival Duquesne, have been less fortunate, as they has been delayed by positive tests on multiple occasions. Amid the widespread cancelations and reports of rising cases and mounting deaths in the country, Capel recently questioned the wisdom of continuing to play sports at this time.
“Something just doesn’t feel right about it right now,” Capel said of playing basketball during a pandemic last Monday. “The numbers were what they were back in March. I look at it every day, man. It seems like every day it’s getting worse. I don’t know why you cancel it in March, but you say it’s OK to do it right now.”
Pitt did not provide any specifics on Capel’s condition, and thus it is currently unknown whether the coach’s case is mild or severe. At the moment, Pitt has only acknowledged that Capel will miss the Louisville game, but given that Pitt’s subsequent matchup with Duke will also fall within 14 days of the announcement of the positive test, the possibility exists that Capel could miss multiple games.