Coach K Apologizes for Scolding Students "But Let's Find a Different Cheer"
Late in the first half of Duke’s win over Pitt, the Cameron Crazies began a chant aimed at Panthers head coach, and former Blue Devil player and coach, Jeff Capel.
The chant was a relatively innocent one: “Jeff Capel, sit with us.”
The Crazies have aimed the chant at recruits on official visits, as well as former Duke players sitting in the stands. Often, they make the trek across the court to join the students for part of the game.
Emotions were already high, with Capel making his return to Cameron Indoor Stadium for the first time since leaving the program two years ago, and when Coach Mike Krzyzewski heard the fans chanting Capel’s name, he stormed onto the floor, yelling at them to stop.
He had to be restrained by referee Mike Eades at the time. A short time later, as teams were leaving the court for halftime, he approached the student section and pounded his chest, yelling, “He’s one of us!”
After the game, Krzyzewski admitted that he might have overreacted.
“Yeah, I don’t know if I made a mistake on that,” he said, “but I’ve never heard another coach’s name yelled out in the middle of the first half when we were in a war with a team. … I thought it was something personal. 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 who are adamant about it. Once I heard his name … 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, but I’d rather make the mistake in protection of my guy. I went just at the end of the half and said look, he’s our guy. He’s our guy. That’s it. So I apologize. Let’s think of a different cheer. Like ‘defense,’ ‘let’s go,’ ‘c’mon Duke.’ Leave the other guy alone. I love Jeff.”