Upset with the officiating during the first half of what would eventually be a 79-67 loss to Duke, Pittsburgh head coach Jeff Capel was hit with a technical foul by official Bert Smith. It wasn’t the first time a distraught visiting coach got T’d up inside Cameron Indoor Stadium — Capel actually got T’d up during last year’s game in Durham as well — and it won’t be the last. That said, the resulting fallout from this particular whistle was … different.
Following the technical, the Duke student section began to chant “Jeff Capel, sit with us,” not an atypical cheer from the Cameron Crazies. The subject of this taunt (?) being a former Duke player and longtime Blue Devil assistant (2011-18) did not sit well with Mike Krzyzewski.
Immediately, an enraged Coach K began screaming at the students to “shut up.” He then addressed them before halftime, angrily informing them that Capel is “one of us.”
After Cameron Crazies started yelling “Jeff Capel, sit with us,” Coach K could be seen yelling “Shut up” and “He’s one of us.”
Capel played at Duke and coached there for 7 seasons. pic.twitter.com/OdKeJ62MMv
— ESPN (@espn) January 29, 2020
I’m torn on whether the best part of this video is Coach K reacting like someone just told him that 72-year-old men aren’t supposed to have jet black hair, or the Duke students looking like they just experienced an adult raising their voice at them for the first time in their lives.
Seriously, these are the looks of kids who just had an impromptu audience with God and were informed that they haven’t been living right.
After the game, Krzyzewski admitted he wasn’t sure what exactly the students had been chanting, but it was hearing Capel’s name that had set him off. When he was told the cheer was more harmless than he had originally assumed, the Hall of Fame coach served up something of an apology.
“I thought it was something personal,” Krzyzewski said. “I apologize to the students for that. I don’t apologize for the timing. You shouldn’t say that. Middle of the first half of an ACC game. This isn’t some cutesy little thing where we can just bounce a ball around and giggle. We’re in a fight.
“Once I heard his name — you know, I’m not going to go over there and say, ‘will you please tell me what you’re doing?’ So it’s a mistake on my part. But I’d rather make the mistake in protection of my guy. And I went and just said at the end of the half, ‘look he’s our guy, he’s our guy.’ So I apologize, but let’s think of a different cheer. Like, ‘DEFENSE!’ and ‘LET’S GO!’ or “COME ON, DUKE!’ Leave the other guy alone.”
In Coach K’s defense, this new cheer policy does seem like it has the potential to be electric.
Capel, who was the head coach at VCU and Oklahoma before arriving in Durham, was Coach K’s associate head coach and top recruiter during his time at Duke. He is considered by some to be one of a handful of candidates to replace Krzyzewski whenever the Hall of Famer decides to call it a career.