Duke fans directed a playful chant at Pittsburgh head coach Jeff Capel during the Blue Devils’ 79-67 win on Tuesday night, and Mike Krzyzewski was furious that the Cameron Crazies singled out his former assistant.
Duke students began chanting “Jeff Capel, sit with us” at the Pittsburgh coach late in the first half. The chant was hardly derogatory and was flattering if anything, but Coach K became irate and went ballistic on the Cameron Crazies.
After the game, Krzyzewski apologized to the student section and admitted he may have overreacted. He said he didn’t know exactly what was said but has “never heard another coach’s name yelled out in the middle of the first half when we’re in a war with another team.” Coach K said he’ll apologize to the students because he thought they were chanting something personal at Capel, but he does not apologize for thinking it’s ridiculous to shout another coach’s name in the middle of the first half of a big game.
Coach K apologizes to students for outburst, but not for defending “his guy” pic.twitter.com/JaJjRjiq33
— Carolina Blitz (@KeepBlitzin) January 29, 2020
“Once I heard his name, I’m not going to (go over to the students) and say, ‘Will you please tell me what you’re doing,'” Coach K told reporters. “So it’s a mistake on my part, but I’d rather make the mistake in protection of my guy.”
A Duke student pointed out after the game that the intention was never to taunt Capel, and the Cameron Crazies made that clear in the “Dirt Sheet” they pass out before games. Capel, who played at Duke from 1993-1996 and was an assistant coach for the Blue Devils from 2011-2018, said he was not offended and loves the Cameron Crazies.
Love you guys back!!! No offense taken from me! Keep SHOWING UP AND CHEERING FOR YOUR TEAM! They DESERVE IT! https://t.co/19BC707KjR
— Jeff Capel (@jeffcapel) January 29, 2020
Coach K was probably embarrassed at the way he overreacted, especially when he was informed of what the students actually said. This isn’t the first time Coach K has blown a gasket for seemingly no reason, and even his gripe with the timing of the Capel chant comes across as not wanting to fully admit he was wrong. Whether the chant was made in the first half or in the final minute of a blowout, there was clearly no harm in it.