Oklahoma Fires Head Coach Jeff Capel

by March 15, 2011

by David Cassilo / @dcassilo

While March can mean postseason glory for many coaches, it can also be a very nervous time for those who failed to lead their team to the NCAA tournament. Just two years removed from an Elite Eight appearance, Oklahoma gave Jeff Capel his walking papers on Monday.

Over the last two seasons, the Sooners finished 17-36. That record, however, was greatly impacted by the premature departures of Blake Griffin and Willie Warren. Following the 2009-10 season, five underclassmen left Oklahoma.

Although Capel has struggled the past two seasons, his dismissal is the most surprising among the firings this past week.

From The Oklahoman:

It was a dramatic down turn for Capel, who signed a $13 million extension two years ago after the Sooners reached the Elite Eight.

“We had high hopes to build off that momentum,” Oklahoma athletic director Joe Castiglione said. “But we understand how sports can be, the departure of people with great talent and experience… Unfortunately were unable to sustain that momentum.”

What inevitably contributed to Capel’s demise at Oklahoma was the NCAA investigation into former Sooner Tiny Gallon. For a school that suffered NCAA violations under previous head coach Kelvin Sampson, it might have just wanted to once again separate itself from any wrongdoing.