Blog: Coaching Connections

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Appalachian State head coach Jason Capel was still in high school the last time Tubby Smith faced the Mountaineers, an 85-67 win for Smith's Georgia Bulldogs in 1996. But Tuesday's matchup between Smith and Capel's teams is not the first time the two coaches have been each other's opponents. Early in the 2001-02 season, when Smith was the head coach at Kentucky and Capel was a senior guard for North Carolina, Smith's Wildcat's defeated Capel's Tar Heels, 79-59.

Smith's connections with the Capel family actually extend back another generation. He coached against Jason's father, Jeff Capel Jr., at both the high school and collegiate level. Smith and Capel's teams met many times on the North Carolina high school circuit.
Go Gophers! Tubby Smith
Go Gophers!
Smith has connections to the Mountaineers' coaching staff.
Go Gophers!

"Appalachian State's head coach Jason Capel is the head of a promising young coaching staff," Smith said. "Jason's father Jeff and I have history that goes back to our high school coaching days. I was at Hoke County High School in Raeford, N.C. and he was at Pinecrest High School in Pinehurst, N.C."

The stakes were high in Jeff Capel Jr. and Smith's only collegiate meeting: It was the Second Round of the 1995 NCAA Tournament. Smith's Tulsa team came away with a 64-52 victory over Capel's Old Dominion team. Capel Jr. was the head coach of the Monarchs from 1994-2001.

"We have also had sons that have played against each other in college ball and are now coaching college basketball so there is definitely history and a lot of similarities," Smith said. "Kellen Sampson is on Jason's staff, and his father (Kelvin) and I go way back, so there are plenty of familiar faces and familiar places."

Kellen Sampson, who played for Oklahoma from 2003-07, played for Jason Capel's older brother, Jeff Capel III, for one season. Jeff coached at Virginia Commonwealth (2002-06) before taking the helm at Oklahoma (2006-11), and is now an assistant at his alma mater, Duke. Kelvin Sampson and Smith coached against each other on multiple occasions while Sampson was at Indiana.

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