Pitt assistant coach Jason Capel set off by 'disrespect' after ACC road win over UNC

C.L. Brown, The News & Observer on

Published in Basketball

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. — Jason Capel, a Pitt assistant coach and former forward at North Carolina, told the News & Observer that he didn’t want his actions to distract from the Panthers’ 65-64 win in the Dean E. Smith Center on Wednesday.

The Panthers swept the Tar Heels and have beaten them five of their last six meetings. But the postgame quickly overshadowed the game’s outcome on social media, as reporters captured him returning to the locker room with his raw emotions on full display.

“Shouldn’t be a story. I shouldn’t be a story. Pitt winning should be the story,” Capel said in a text with the N&O.

Prior to tipoff, the public announcer at the Smith Center acknowledged Jason Capel as a former Tar Heel player before he introduced Pitt head coach Jeff Capel.

Because his older brother Jeff played at Duke, his name was met with a chorus of boos. But there didn’t appear to be any noticeable animosity directed at Jason.

That apparently changed immediately following the game.


Jason Capel said he went to talk to UNC’s legendary guard Phil Ford, who was an assistant coach during his first two seasons at Carolina. Ford’s seat is essentially perpendicular to the Heels’ bench. Capel said in a text message that’s when expletives were directed his way:

“I’ll be better. But yelling (expletive) YOU repeatedly to a grown man, multiple ppl (people), when all I was doing was speaking to MY COACH — Phil Ford, Ain’t cool. Repeatedly. To all of us.”

Jason Capel reiterated in his text messages that he did not have any problems with Carolina’s current players and UNC coach Hubert Davis: “Have nothing but love and respect for Hubert — his staff and those players.”

Jeff Capel said the slights started with UNC basketball’s “Gameday” post on social media. The picture showcasing the 7 p.m. tipoff was one of walk-on Creighton Lebo, with his tongue wagging as he runs up the court. Lebo happens to wear No. 25, which is the number Jason Capel wore from 1998-2002 in Chapel Hill.


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