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Oklahoma fires Capel

By Mike Jones

McClatchy Newspapers

(MCT)

FORT WORTH, Texas - Oklahoma athletics director Joe Castiglione has confirmed that basketball coach Jeff Capel was fired Monday morning, as a source with knowledge of the situation had told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

"After careful consideration, it has been determined that our men's basketball program would be best served by a change of direction," Castiglione's statement read. "Therefore, we are making a change in the head coaching position.

"Jeff Capel has worked diligently on our behalf, and for that we are appreciative. He has many outstanding qualities and we wish him success as he moves forward.

"As we look to the future, we do so with a great university, a proud tradition in basketball, continued commitment to excellence in all areas and some of the country's finest facilities. We expect that those qualities will play an important role in our search for a new coach. We're ready to embark on that process."

Capel was met Castiglione Monday morning and was informed he would not be retained after five seasons. He has a contract that runs through the 2016 season. The buyout on paper is approximately $2 million.

Capel's teams finished 96-69 and 37-43 against Big 12 competition. But after two successful seasons (53-18) with national player of the year Blake Griffin and an Elite Eight berth in 2009, the program struggled to a 27-37 record. That included only nine Big 12 victories over the past two seasons.

The 2010 season was one of great expectation with a team led by sophomore guard Willie Warren and McDonald's All-Americans Tommy Mason-Griffin and Tiny Gallon. But the team struggled all season long in part because of a lack of internal leadership and all three left for the NBA.

Though this year's team showed some promise behind sophomores Andrew Fitzgerald and Steven Pledger and freshman Cameron Clark, Castiglione apparently did not feel the program was moving in the right direction fast enough and had lost fan support.

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(c) 2011, Fort Worth Star-Telegram.

Visit the Star-Telegram on the World Wide Web at http://www.star-telegram.com.

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.


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