As a Player and Coach, Jeff Capel Embodies a Lifelong Passion for Basketball

Fight Together

Even with great models in his father, Miller and Krzysweski, Capel needed to find his own way in coaching. He took what he learned on the court and blended it into his own approach. “My overall philosophy is learning to be part of something bigger than yourself,” Capel explains. “Learn how to fight and fight together. Learn discipline, accountability and responsibility.”

Capel worked as an assistant to his former coach, the legendary Coach K at Duke.
Capel worked as an assistant to his former coach, the legendary Coach K at Duke.
Coaching is much more than drawing up plays. It’s bringing out the best in your athletes, and that is something Capel strives to do.

“I try to pass along to my players that you have to fall in love with the process of becoming great. No one wants to be not good,” Capel says. “But you have to understand that it is a process to become the best at whatever you choose to do. You have to embrace that process and fall in love with it.”

As with playing, Capel’s run as a coach has been filled with successes and setbacks. He simply notes the times he felt he wasn’t able to help his team or players reach their full potential as disappointments. But the high points are what keep him going.

“My proudest moments were being the 2004 regular season and conference tournament champions at VCU, leading a team to the 2009 Elite 8 and end of the season top 10 ranking at the University of Oklahoma, as well as being part of a team that won the 2015 National Championship,” Capel says.

Work Harder and Smarter

Coaching is much more than drawing up plays. It’s bringing out the best in your athletes, and that is something Capel strives to do.
Coaching is much more than drawing up plays. It’s bringing out the best in your athletes, and that is something Capel strives to do.

Capel’s path of success in high school and college athletics—as a player and coach—began at a young age. It is never too early to look inside and find ways to develop the player and person. For kids looking to play at the college level and get recruited, Capel has some advice:

“Most college programs look at athletes with good character, talent, intelligence and athletic ability,” he says. “They also look for a player’s ability to fit into the philosophy the head coach has implemented in their program. Students should keep in mind that coaches are looking for guys that can impact winning and that play the game the right way. They want players that can be a great teammate and be part of something bigger than themselves.”

Reflecting on his own career, Capel has some words of advice he would have given himself at a young age, “Work harder and smarter.”

About Jim Schneider 14 Articles
Jim Schneider is editorial director of Triangle Sports.

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