Pitt hires Duke assistant Jeff Capel as new men's basketball coach

Andy Lyons  Getty Images

After coming up short of guys like Thad Matta, Sean Miller and Dan Hurley, the University of Pittsburgh have found their guy for the men's basketball team.

He agreed to a seven-year contract with the official announcement expected to be made Wednesday, ESPN reported, citing unidentified sources.

No, he's something even better, after spending the past four seasons as associate head coach to the college game's master, Duke's Mike Krzyzewski, who endorsed it as an "amazing hire".

Pitt appears satisfied with the explanation Capel gave regarding the NCAA issues that popped up regarding recruiting violations allegedly committed by assistant coach Oronde Taliaferro that caused the Sooners to vacate wins from the 2009-10 season.

Kryzyzewski was highly praising of his former assistant head coach after the news was leaked today. Pittsburgh went 8-24 this past season and 0-18 in ACC play.

"Pittsburgh just made an unbelievable hire to lead its men's basketball program", Krzyzewski said. "I have learned so much about myself, first as a player and then as a coach but most importantly as a man during my time in Durham".

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After ushering Jamie Dixon out the door by lowering his buyout after 11 NCAA Tournament appearances in 13 seasons, Barnes used a crony connection to facilitate the hiring of Kevin Stallings.

Whatever the situation, Capel will now be judged as a candidate at Duke by whether he manages to rebuild Pittsburgh into an ACC power. Capel took the VCU job at age 27 and won 79 games in four seasons. Capel led the Sooners to a 30-6 record in the 2008-09 season but was sacked after OU went just 14-18 two years later. Capel was not implicated in the NCAA's findings.

Pitt is still several years away from thinking about titles, but the Panthers appear to have the right coach to get them back to competing in the ACC.

Capel is credited with some of the team's recent recruiting successes, as the Blue Devils have landed the No. 1 class in four of the past five season.

The immediate expectations won't be quite as high at Pitt. For now, they'll settle for something resembling a competitive team after the worst season in the program's 113-year history.

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