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Jeff Capel Jr., Former Fayetteville State Basketball Coach, Has Died

Jeff Capel Jr.

Jeff Capel Jr., the former Fayetteville State University (FSU) basketball coach and father of Duke assistant Jeff Capel III, has died, according to the university.

In January, Capel’s son revealed that his father had been battling ALS since spring 2016.

Jeff Capel Jr.
Jeff Capel Jr. with sons Jeff III (left) and Jason and grandsons.

“The Fayetteville State University family is saddened by the passing of one of its most respected alumni and former coaches,” Chancellor James Anderson said in a statement Monday (Nov. 13). “Coach Capel and his family are held in high regard by FSU, its alumni and supporters and he will be missed. Our thoughts and prayers are with his parents, wife, children, and family members during this difficult time.”

Capel’s son, Duke associate head coach Jeff Capel III, wrote about the diagnosis on the Players Tribune website earlier this year.

“My dad’s ALS, I am sad to report, continues to progress,” he wrote. “We are f

ighting — always fighting — but still, in the end, we are remaining realistic. The truth is: ALS will take my dad’s speech; and it will take my dad’s movement; and yes, there is a good chance that it will eventually take his life.”

The disease, known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis or Lou Gehrig’s Disease, attacks the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord. There is no known cure.

Capel was an Army veteran and the son of prominent Southern Pines businessman Felton Capel. He began his coaching career at Pinecrest High School and later moved into the college ranks as an assistant at Wake Forest.

He later spent four seasons as a head coach with the Broncos, posting two 20-win seasons and reaching the NCAA Division II tournament once.

He left Fayetteville State in 1993, spending one season at North Carolina A&T and guiding the Aggies to the NCAA tournament. He then moved on to Old Dominion, where he coached seven seasons, reaching the NCAA tournament twice.

From 2001-04, he was the head coach of the Fayetteville Patriots of the NBA Developmental League. That was followed by a decade spent in the NBA as an assistant with both the Charlotte Bobcats and Philadelphia 76ers.

His two sons were prep basketball stars in Fayetteville who went on to play in the ACC and embark on their own coaching careers.

Capel III was a standout point guard at Duke, starting on a team that reached the NCAA title game during his freshman season. He later coached at Virginia Commonwealth and Oklahoma before returning to Duke.

Younger son Jason Capel helped North Carolina to the Final Four in 2000 and later went on to serve as head coach at Appalachian State.

“He’s a good, good guy,” said North Carolina coach Roy Williams of Capel Jr. earlier this year.

“… You hate to see somebody have something like that because it doesn’t just affect them, it affects their whole family. When you’re a basketball coach , because of the position, you feel that you’re sort of the leader of the group. Then when those things hit you, you remember how frail you really are as an individual.”

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