Source: ASU officials fly to meet with Capel

Arizona State appears to be further zeroing in on Duke assistant Jeff Capel for its head coaching position.

Arizona State Vice President for Athletics Ray Anderson flew across the country Sunday in advance of a scheduled meeting with Duke assistant coach Jeff Capel about the Sun Devils' head coaching vacancy, according to a source with direct knowledge of the development.

Capel, formerly the head coach at Oklahoma and Virginia Commonwealth, is a top target of the Sun Devils in their pursuit of a replacement for Herb Sendek, who was fired Tuesday after nine seasons in Tempe.

ASU has not offered its coaching job to Capel or any other coach as yet, according to a progarm source. Whether it would do so if its meeting with Capel is deemed productive is unclear.

With Capel on the bench, Duke beat Gonzaga 66-52 Sunday in Houston to advance to the Final Four where it will play Michigan State Saturday in Indianapolis.

Capel, who played for Duke from 1993-97, was VCU's head coach from 2002-06, compiling a 79-41 record and leading the Rams to a 79-41 record in four seasons, highlighted by an NCAA tournament berth in 2004. In 2006 he was named head coach of Oklahoma, where he led the Sooners to consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances, including an Elite Eight in 2009.

Capel was fired from Oklahoma in March of 2011 in the midst of an NCAA investigation of the program, which later revealed that the school had committed two violations, neither of which Capel was implicated in.

Anderson made the trip to visit Capel along with ASU senior associate athletic director David Cohen, who was recently placed in the administrative role overseeing men's basketball.

Capel comes recommended to ASU officials by Managing Director and Chairman of USA Basketball and former Phoenix Suns and Arizona Diamondbacks Chairman and CEO Jerry Colangelo, as well as USA Basketball head coach Mike Krzyzewski.

Colangelo and ASU President Michael Crow have been working for several years on a plan that would relocate USA Basketball's operations from Colorado Springs, Colo., to ASU's Tempe campus.

The Sun Devils are also interested in Buffalo head coach Bobby Hurley, but have not set an in-person interview with Hurley yet after two phone conversations he had with ASU officials earlier in the week, a source said.

Like Capel, Hurley is a former star player at Duke. In his recently concluded second season at Buffalo -- his first head coaching job -- Hurley led the Bills to a 23-10 (12-6) record in the Mid-American Conference and an NCAA Tournament appearance.

Additional candidates

In addition to Capel and Hurley, ASU has had preliminary dialogue with a number of other candidates or potential candidates and/or their representatives about its job opening, including TCU's Trent Johnson, recently fired Alabama coach Anthony Grant, and former NBA head coach Avery Johnson, according to sources close to the process. None appear to be candidates preferred by ASU early in the search.

ASU is also considering potential future dialogue with Memphis assistant coach Josh Pastner, Golden State Warriors associate head coach Alvin Gentry -- formerly head coach of the Phoenix Suns -- and recently fired St. John's coach Steve Lavin, a source said.


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