ShareThis Page
Dick Groat’s hunch about Jeff Capel comes true for Pitt | TribLIVE.com
Pitt

Dick Groat’s hunch about Jeff Capel comes true for Pitt

Jerry DiPaola
886867_web1_gtr-capel24-032918
Chaz Palla | Tribune-Review
Pitt men’s basketball coach Jeff Capel takes a moment with radio announcer Dick Groat Wednesday, March 28, 2018 at Petersen Events Center.

When Duke visited the Petersen Events Center last year to play Pitt, Jeff Capel couldn’t wait to get there.

Then a Duke assistant and now the head coach at Pitt, Capel carried with him a bag of Duke gear he wanted to give to Dick Groat, one of the greatest players in Duke history.

“I gave him a shirt that we had made of the brotherhood (of former Duke players),” Capel said, recalling the story Friday morning on KDKA-FM. “I was very excited to give it to him.”

Groat, who just his concluded his 40th and final season as color analyst on Pitt radio broadcasts, also had something he wanted to give to Capel.

“He pulled me aside,” Capel said, “and he said to me, ‘You’re going to be the next head coach at Pitt.’ I just kind of laughed it off. I wasn’t obviously thinking about anything like that at that time.”

Two months later, Groat’s words came true and Capel made a point of finding and mentioning him at his introductory news conference at the Pete.

“He pulled me aside and he told me, ‘I told you this was going to happen.’ ”

Four years earlier, Capel met Groat for the first time, also when Duke visited the Pete.

“It was like meeting this mythological character, because of all the stories I heard of what a great athlete he was,” Capel said. “He couldn’t have been more friendly, couldn’t have been nicer, couldn’t have been more supportive of me.”

It was his first face-to-face meeting with Groat, but not the first meeting.

Capel played and coached at Duke for 11 years, and has great respect for those players and coaches who came before him.

“Every day I walked into Cameron, whether we were playing pickup or getting ready for practice or practicing, there was a moment I would always look up to the rafters to soak in the history of the excellence,” Capel said. “I would see his jersey up there.

“He’s a giant in the community in Pittsburgh and a giant at Duke. More than just a great athlete, he’s an unbelievable man who’s giving and caring and just first class in every sense of the word.”

Get the latest news about Pitt basketball and all things Panthers athletics.

Jerry DiPaola is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jerry by email at [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Sports | Pitt
TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.