Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski ran across the court in a fit of anger to scold the Duke student section for a chant directed at Pittsburgh coach Jeff Capel during the Blue Devils' 79-67 win over the visiting Panthers. Media on press row in front of the student section reported that the students were chanting, "Jeff Capel, sit with us."
The "sit with us" chant is one that the Duke student section is known to use often with former players who are back at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Capel played for Duke from 1993 to 1997 and was an assistant for the Blue Devils from 2011 to 2018 before accepting the Pittsburgh job in 2018
Krzyzewski indicated after the game that he misunderstood what was being chanted and offered an apology to the students.
"I thought it was something personal," Krzyzewski told reporters after the game. "I apologize to the students for that. I don't apologize for the timing. You shouldn't say that in the middle of the first half of an ACC game. This isn't some cutesy little thing where we can just bounce a ball around and giggle. We've got to fight. We've got to have people that are adamant about it. Once I heard his name, again I'm not going to go say, 'will you please tell me exactly what you're doing.' So it's a mistake on my part. I'd rather make the mistake in protection of my guy. Then I went at the end of the half and said, 'look, he's our guy.' So I apologize. But let's think of a different cheer…You leave the other guy alone."
Capel said he was oblivious to what was going on during the sequence, which occurred at the end of the first half.
"I heard them yell," Capel said. "I didn't know what he was yelling at. I didn't know what they were saying. I was locked in to the competition."
After yelling for the chanting to stop, Krzyzewski appeared to tell the chanting students that Capel, "is one of us."
The Panthers did not play at Duke last season, making Tuesday's game Capel's first return to his alma mater since his stint on Krzyzewski's staff.
Krzyzewski and Capel spoke briefly after returning to the court following halftime. The two spoke briefly after returning to the court.
"I think he was trying to tell me what happened," Capel said. "I honestly didn't know. I think he was maybe trying to apologize for what happened. I didn't know what happened."
Aside from the chanting incident, Capel spoke highly of his return to his alma mater.
"It was great being back to be honest with you," Capel said. "We came in here last night and shot a little bit. It was a little weird walking in here, a completely different entrance, being dropped off in a different place and just being here not with Duke. But once competition starts, man it's competition. It was great seeing so many familiar faces, so many people that I care about and that care about me. That was really cool."