Capel hires two former head coaches

The Jeff Capel era is underway in full-force with the official hiring of former Mississippi head coach Rod Barnes (pictured) and former South Carolina State head coach Ben Betts on Tuesday to complete his staff. (AP Photo/Rogelio Solis)

Barnes compiled a 141-109 record in eight seasons at Mississippi and was named the Naismith Coach of the Year in 2001 after leading the school to its first-ever Sweet 16 appearance.

"Rod Barnes is a guy who brings a ton of experience to our program," said Capel in a press release on "He's been a very successful head coach for eight years and was the national coach of the year in 2001. His basketball knowledge, his ability to recruit and the fact that he's a great human being will bring a lot to our program and to the young men that we'll bring into this program.

"I've always had a lot of respect for Coach Barnes. When I was at VCU I had the opportunity to coach against him and his teams were always very good defensively. They got after you, they were tough, they were disciplined and they played with passion. I respected the way his teams played. I feel like this is a great hire for OU."

Betts, who spent the last three seasons as the head coach at South Carolina State, was an assistant under Capel during the 2002-03 season at VCU. Betts led the Bulldogs to a regular season conference title and a 51-39 mark during his three years at the helm.

"Ben is a guy I've known for a while and had a chance to work with for a year," said Capel. "He was one of the first guys I hired when I became head coach at VCU (in 2002). I didn't have him very long, though, because South Carolina State hired him as its head coach.

"Ben is incredibly passionate about the game of basketball and about teaching it. He's a very good recruiter, partly because he communicates so well. The knowledge and the energy he'll bring to our program will be incredibly beneficial. Also, because of the type of man he is, players here will enjoy being around him. They will learn a lot about life from him."

Barnes and Betts join former Virgina Commonwealth assistant Mark Cline as full-time assistants. Former Bucknell assistant coach Bryan Goodman will serve as the Director of Basketball Operations.

For more information on Betts and Barnes, click the link below to the official release on

Capel completes staff with Barnes, Betts:

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