2014-15 Season – CountDown to the “CountDown to Craziness” – We Begin with Associate Coach, Jeff Capel

 This Article by Bermuda Bob


Welcome to our version of the 2014-15 Season Count Down to  CountDown to Craziness” which, this year, it is on Saturday, the 25th of October at 8PM.

So, everyday from today, counting down to “Craziness,” we will feature a member of this year’s Duke team but we start out with a bit ofa twist.

In prior years, we started with the “Walk-On” players, and we were ready to follow that same pattern when we realized that no one ever thinks about the support system Coach K has always enjoyed.

So, today we start out with the Senior member of the three (3) guys behind and on the bench with Coach K.  The reasoning is that they are often the forgotten part of the team – well, until some other team needs a Head Coach, then their worth is fully realized.

In order to give them their proper due, we will profile Associate Head Coach Jeff Capel today, alone. Next, we will pair each of the Assistants with one of the “Walk-On” players to give you, our readers, a bit more to consume.

I hope that when your finished you agree with us that these guys deserve the attention. So, here goes:


Simply Duke Basketball - 2014 Profiles - Jeff Capel Collage

Felton Jeff Capel III

Better known as simply Associate Coach Jeff Capel, he is one of the only recruits who came to Duke and started at Point Guard for all four (4) years, graduating in thru 1997 with a Bachelor’s Degree in History.

After a very short lived professional playing career in France, he traded in his jersey for a whistle as an Assistant Coach to his father at Old Dominion for two (2) years.  He became an Assistant at Virginia Commonwealth and after two (2) years became the youngest Head Coach in D-1 Basketball when VCU put him at the helm. In four (4) years, he led VCU to a 79-41 Record, a trip to the Big Dance and the NIT.

In 2006, he was hired away from VCU by Oklahoma to succeed Kelvin Sampson, who left to take the reigns at Indiana.  Even though three (3) recruits changed their minds when Sampson left, Jeff amassed a 96-69 record, making the Big Dance twice, the second time getting to the Elite Eight.  He will forever be known as the coach who guided a young Blake Griffin during his formative years.

In 2010, his Assistant Coach resigned under a cloud of speculation, when a player associated with the Assistant came under scrutiny by the NCAA.  Five (5) underclassmen subsequently left the programme, leaving Jeff with only second tier players. Even so, he eked out a 14-18 record, the powers-that-be at Oklahoma thought it needed a change.  So in March of 2011, Jeff, who was never implicated in the scandal, was without a job and nothing on the horizon.

It’s at times like this, family comes thru, only this time the family was his second family at Duke.  So, after amassing a 175-110 record as a Head Coach, I, like many others thought it was simply an act of mercy on Coach K’s part.

Au Contraire !!!   Since coming back “home,” Jeff has given Coach K a tremendous boost in recruiting.  Moving from an Assistant Coach to Associate Head Coach, he is an excellent voice with the players, mentoring many along the way.  He has also been Coach K’s Assistant with Team USA.

While it took a firing to bring him back to his Alma Mater, he has brought a wealth of experience and experiences back to “the family” and “the family” is all the better for it.

Jeff is married to another Duke alum, Kanika Reale Blue. They have a daughter, Cameron Isabella.

Now, tell me that’s not loyalty, naming your daughter after the famed arena where we first got to know him ???

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