Following a disappointing nine-win season, Appalachian State University fired head coach Jason Capel, the school announced on Monday.
Capel coached the team in each of the last four seasons, taking over for Buzz Peterson after he spurned the High Country once again, this time for a job on the coast. Ironically, Peterson was also fired this week at UNC-Wilmington after an identical nine-win season.
After going 16-15 overall in his first year, Capel failed to finish above the .500 mark in any of the next three years, which included this year’s dismal record of 9-21.
Capel did have a pair of 10-8 seasons in the Southern Conference in 2010-2011 and 2012-2013, but never found any rhythm this season on the way to a 5-11 SoCon record, the worst conference year for ASU since the 2003-2004 campaign.
“As we enter the Sun Belt Conference next season, we have decided to do so with new leadership for our men’s basketball program,” said Charlie Cobb, ASU Director of Athletics, in a press release issued Monday. “I sincerely thank Coach Capel for his effort and dedication to Appalachian State over the last five years. He is a first-class person and has a bright professional future ahead of him. I wish him and his family nothing but the best.”
Prior to his four-year stint as the head coach, Capel served one season as an assistant under Coach Peterson.
Before his coaching career, Capel played professional basketball overseas and spent some time on the Charlotte Bobcats roster, though he never appeared in an NBA game. Capel is a graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill.
Capel was chosen as the 15th head coach in App State program history, and at the time was the youngest NCAA Division 1 head coach in the nation at just 30 years, three months and six days old.
Capel did play a part in coaching Donald Sims, who is the program’s all-time leading scorer, as well as Nathan Healey who was the 2012-2013 SoCon Defensive Player of the Year.
The former coach ended his ASU career with a record of 53-70 overall and 32-38 in the Southern Conference.
The search for a replacement is already underway.
*Nathan Ham can be reached at (336) 846-7164 or on Twitter @NathanHam87