Fox Sports' Jeff Goodman is reporting that Georgia is preparing to pursue Oklahoma basketball coach Jeff Capel, and could offer him a package worth "in excess of $2 million per season."
As with all things Georgia basketball related, Paul Westerdawg is all over this like cheat on Barry Switzer (seriously, it wafts off the guy as you pass, and smells vaguely of smoked figs and Orange Bowl trophies). Paul's take covers most of the high points, and you should really go read it. I would merely add a few impressions:
- This "leak" smells a little fishy to me. It does Georgia absolutely no good for this to come out now. The only folks who benefit are Jeff Capel, and the other guys (Virginia Commonwealth's Anthony Grant and Xavier's Sean Miller, for example) who will be heavily pursued in a couple of weeks. I also doubt that Georgia has had any formal contact with Capel given that he's currently fighting for a #1 seed with his star player fighting injuries. I'm not certain that this one didn't come from an agent for someone other than Jeff Capel who benefits from a charged job market.
- If it is true, I'm ecstatic. Not because I think we'll land Capel. The Oklahoma job is a better one than the Georgia job right now, in no small measure because Jeff Capel has made it better since arriving in Norman. Also, given suitable time and motivation, Oklahoma can match Georgia dollar for dollar. We won't get Jeff Capel unless Oklahoma lets us have him. Even then we'd have to beat some other schools for him. No, I'm ecstatic because this could signal that our athletic department is serious about attracting a bigtime baskeball coach. Even if Oklahoma would be hard to poach from, there are other schools out there with great coaches for whom that's not the case. With $2 million per we could go after a young up-and-comer like Villanova's Jay Wright or an experienced, proven veteran like UNLV's Lon Kruger. When you have cash, you also have options.
- It's going to be a long few weeks. This is the first salvo in a long battle. Be prepared to hear that every nominally qualified college basketball coaching candidate is coming to Athens. Because if in fact Damon Evans is willing to spend serious money, he's going to get serious interest. Athens is within driving distance of enough blue chip basketball recruits to stock 3 programs, the facilities for basketball are improving and will improve further, and perhaps most important, Evans had made it clear that he won't rest until the University of Georgia has a top notch basketball program. This is a good thing.
Bottomline, if this is true, it means that Damon Evans is willing to put our money where his mouth is. If you want a competitive Georgia basketball team, that's a big first step.