Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Capel to OU. Calipari to NC STATE?

NBCSports.com news services

Oklahoma will make Virginia Commonwealth coach Jeff Capel its next coach, ESPN.com reported on Monday night.

A news conference to announce the decision will reportedly be Tuesday or Wednesday.

Earlier Monday, Wichita State coach Mark Turgeon and Miami coach Frank Haith both announced they were withdrawing as candidates for the position, which left Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione with his "stealth" candidate" as ESPN reported.

Capel had been a target of Oklahoma since Kelvin Sampson announced he was taking over the head coaching position at Indiana two weeks ago.

Capel, 31, guided the Rams to the NCAA Tournament in 2004 and the NIT in 2005. VCU finished 19-10 overall and 11-7 in the Colonial Athletic Association last season.

Capel played at Duke from 1994-97 and is the son of Charlotte Bobcats assistant Jeff Capel, a former head coach at Old Dominion and North Carolina A&T. He was selected last summer to be an assistant coach with Manhattan's Bobby Gonzalez on the USA World University Games staff led by Villanova's Jay Wright. The United States won the gold medal in Turkey.

After the season, Capel agreed to a two-year contract extension that gave him six years on his VCU deal. His record at the school was was 79-41.

Memphis toils over salary in an effort to retain coach

Memphis men's basketball coach John Calipari remained N.C. State's focus Monday, but there was no definitive word on his plans from Memphis, N.C. State officials or his agent.

N.C. State athletics director Lee Fowler and Chancellor James Oblinger flew to Memphis on Sunday to meet with Calipari. There were conflicting reports Monday that Calipari and his staff would tour N.C. State's facilities on Monday or today; as of Monday evening, there was no evidence he had traveled to Raleigh.

A source close to Calipari told the Observer he expects Calipari to accept the N.C. State job if N.C. State and Memphis make similar offers.

Memphis spokesman Lamar Chance said school officials were working to increase Calipari's salary. The Memphis Commercial Appeal reported he would be offered a raise of $400,000 to $600,000, which would increase his total annual salary to $1.5 million to $1.7 million.

Memphis' deal includes a $2.5-million annuity Calipari can collect if he stays through his 10th season, the Commercial Appeal reported. Calipari just completed his sixth season at Memphis.

The Observer has been unable to confirm reports N.C. State offered Calipari close to $2 million a year. Craig Fenech, Calipari's New Jersey-based agent, declined to comment.

N.C. State is looking for a replacement for Herb Sendek, who decided April 1 to leave after 10 seasons for Arizona State. Calipari quickly expressed interest in the job through intermediaries, but the Wolfpack first targeted Texas coach Rick Barnes, who accepted a raise and is staying with the Longhorns.

Memphis is 148-59 under Calipari and reached the Oakland Regional final of the NCAA tournament last month before losing to UCLA. Calipari also coached briefly with the New Jersey Nets and spent eight seasons at Massachusetts, directing the Minutemen to the 1996 Final Four.

That Final Four trip later was vacated by the NCAA because center Marcus Camby accepted impermissible gifts from a sports agent.


  1. Perhaps I undervalue $, but I can't see why you'd leave a league where you can be the perennial champ to go and play Duke and Carolina and Wake and Georgia Tech all year. . . . Strength of schedule and all that, I suppose, but Memphis did manage to get the 1 seed, which seems about as good as it gets. And NC-State is just not going to go 13-1 in the ACC, at least not any time soon.

    Good news for Mike Davis, though, on the UAB job.

  2. I agree of course with YD's analysis. It applied to the Mizzou job rumors and applies even more forcefully here, although one might argue that the NC State job is a bit more prestigious.

    C'mon RC, shell out the $$$$!!
    (Memphis AD)

  3. I'm surprised by both of these items.

    Capel is like, MY age.

    I guess if they were considering Turgeon based on one NCAA appearance, there was no reason not to consider Capel; it's just that his NCAA appearance came last year, not this year.

    He has a good record so far, and could turn out to be a great coach. But who knows? He's only coached like 90 games!

    I think any ambitious coach would consider going to the ACC, and NC State has a great history, but that was really just the '70s and '80s. I'd say Memphis is the higher-profile school, at least now that Calipari has revived the program.

    Plus, just the fact that Herb Sendek left NC St. for Arizona St. should automatically devalue the job.

    Methinks Calipari is just flirting with the Wolfpack for contract leverage over Memphis. Don't fall for it, RC!

  4. Fox Sports' Goodman reports this morning:

    Calipari "has decided to turn down a lucrative offer to coach in the ACC, according to sources close to the situation."

    "It was unclear whether Calipari had any legitimate interest in the N.C. State opening — or whether he just wanted to use it as leverage to get more money for himself and for his staff."

    It would seem the Wolfpack are setting their sights a bit too high, having now been rejected by Calipari and Barnes. However, they reportedly offered Calipari $2 million, so if they're willing to spend even half of that on someone else, they still might be able to attract a decent candidate.

    Maybe they could lure Digger Phelps out of retirement--anything to get him away from the anchors' desk. Please!

  5. And today from AP, on Calipari's contract:

    "Terms of the deal were not immediately available. The Commercial Appeal reported Wednesday that Calipari will get a raise from less than $1.1 million to about $1.3 million plus incentives that could make the possible total package about $1.7 million through the 2010-11 season."

    God, I'm so tired of being right all the time.

  6. That's right suckas.

    The Tigas will continue to roll!

    Go Coach Cal!