Why did Jeff Capel back out of ASU coach race?

The hunt for a the next hoops coach at Arizona State University took an interesting turn this week, as the frontrunner for the job has backed out.

When news that the Sun Devils had fired Herb Sendek after a nine-season run, there were already reports of prospective replacements including Duke assistant coach Jeff Capel. But just days after the Blue Devils won their fifth NCAA championship, CBS Sports reported that Capel “removed himself from consideration” for the head coaching vacancy.

It’s a curious situation, given that Capel reportedly met with ASU officials on March 30.

It raises questions: Was Capel unimpressed with Arizona State? Was Capel strongly considering the move and the Blue Devils win over the Badgers on Monday changed his mind?Is staying at Duke under Mike Krzyzewski more appealing than getting back into a head coaching position?

While there’s no definitive word as to where Capel will land, it is believed, at least for now, that he will be staying at Duke.

Jeff Capel has had a lot of success there, even before they battled to their fifth tourney title in school history on Monday. Capel’s tenure in Durham also includes recruitment of stand-out players Tyus Jones, Jabari Parker and Jahlil Okafor.

His recruiting and coaching resume is no doubt what made him so appealing to ASU.

As a head coach, Capel led VCU to one NCAA tourney and led Oklahoma to two, including an Elite Eight appearence in 2009 with a roster including that season’s Player of the Year Blake Griffin.

As AZCentral points out, ASU VP of Athletics Ray Anderson has kept a low profile since the Sendek was fired, so it is still a bit up in the air if any other candidates have met face to face with the school or not.There are reportedly still many other coaching candidates on the table for ASU, though there is no word yet on whether Arizona is pursuing any of them as strongly as they were Capel.

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*Featured Photo (above) credit to Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

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