Pitt men’s basketball coach Jeff Capel will return for his fifth season with the program, athletic director Heather Lyke told Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports. A Pitt athletics spokesperson has not yet returned a request for comment.
Capel’s future had been in doubt after an 11-21 season in 2021-22, the worst of Capel’s four seasons at Pitt head coach. He has also failed to secure the commitment of a recruit in the upcoming class.
Likely playing a significant factor in Capel’s retention is a $15 million buyout. His contract runs through the end of the 2026-27 season.
Pitt showed promise early in Capel’s tenure, but things took a nose dive following the 2019-20 season. All three members of Capel’s first freshman class — Xavier Johnson, Trey McGowens and Au’Diese Toney — have transferred from the program and star win Justin Champagnie left early for the NBA.
The Panthers have also been plagued by off-the-court troubles, with Capel describing Johnson and Toney’s departures just before the end of the 2020-21 season coming as a result of “jealousy and infighting” and two members of the team’s regular rotation missing significant time while battling legal issues over the last two seasons.
In total, Pitt is 51-69 and 21-53 against ACC opponents in four seasons under Capel. Despite their worst overall record, Pitt’s tied for 11th-place finish in the ACC this year was the best in his four seasons. Pitt’s season came to a close on Tuesday, when the Panthers were upset by 13th-seeded Boston College in the first game of the 2022 ACC Tournament in Brooklyn.
Capel said after the game that he had not yet had a significant conversation with Lyke, but anticipated that he would return. Capel said he and his staff need to bring in more talent for the 2022-23 season and continue to work on developing the players in the locker room.
With at least two scholarships opening, it is expected that Capel will aggressively target players in the NCAA transfer portal to reshape Pitt’s lineup before next fall.