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Capel takes over as Oklahoma coach


MrAndMrsFish
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NORMAN, Okla. ? (AP) ? Jeff Capel was hired as Oklahoma's basketball coach Tuesday, resigning at Virginia Commonwealth to replace Kelvin Sampson and take over a program under NCAA investigation.

 

VCU confirmed Capel's move in a statement from president Eugene Trani and athletic director Richard Sander. The Sooners scheduled an afternoon news conference on campus to introduce Capel.

 

"We are both sad and happy with Jeff's announcement that he is going to Oklahoma,'' Sander said. "He did a great job here, and we know he will do a great job there.''

 

The 31-year-old Capel is a former Duke player who was 79-41 in four seasons as coach at VCU. He signed a two-year contract extension last month to keep him at the Richmond school through 2012.

 

Instead, he will replace Sampson, hired as Indiana's coach March 29. Sampson was 279-109 in 12 seasons at Oklahoma.

 

The Sooners are awaiting a decision from the NCAA in a case involving more than 550 improper recruiting phone calls by Sampson and his staff. The accusations against Oklahoma include "lack of institutional control,'' one of the NCAA's most serious findings.

 

Oklahoma has argued for a lesser "failure in monitoring'' finding and instituted self-imposed sanctions including probation and recruiting cutbacks. A hearing is scheduled April 21 in Utah.

 

Capel, whose father is an assistant coach for the Charlotte Bobcats, led VCU to the Colonial Athletic

Association title and an NCAA tournament berth in 2004 and then to the NIT in 2005 ? the school's first consecutive postseason berths since 1985. His Rams finished this season 19-10 and did not make the postseason after losing to Hofstra in the conference tournament quarterfinals.

 

The signature of his VCU teams was defense. This season, the Rams allowed 62.4 points a game. On offense, they averaged only 12.5 turnovers and made nearly eight 3-pointers a game.

 

Sampson inherits an Oklahoma team that loses three of its top four scorers and top three rebounders in seniors Taj Gray, Terrell Everett and Kevin Bookout, but features a strong recruiting class that includes McDonald's All-American guard Scottie Reynolds from Herndon, Va.

 

Capel started 28 games as a freshman guard alongside Grant Hill on Duke's 1994 team that made it to the NCAA championship game but lost to Arkansas. He graduated in 1997, then played in the CBA and in France before beginning his coaching career as an assistant to his father, Jeff Capel Jr., at Old Dominion.

 

He moved to VCU as an assistant in 2001 and became the head coach the following year. At 27, he was the youngest head coach in Division I at the time.

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