Maryland to honor legendary coach "Lefty" Driesell

Maryland to honor legendary coach "Lefty" Driesell
February 12, 2013, 3:45 pm
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The Maryland Terrapins will honor former coach Charles "Lefty" Driesell with a Bas-relief at the Comcast Center to be unveiled later this year. Maryland will celebrate Driesell during an on-court ceremony on Saturday Feb. 23 against Clemson and the relief will be unveiled April 16.

“Lefty is a legendary coach and we are happy to recognize him on this special day,” Maryland Athletic Director Kevin Anderson said in a release. “It will be exciting for our longtime fans to celebrate Lefty’s return to the university and we look forward to the dedication of his Bas-relief in April.”

The legendary "Lefty" took over as Maryland men's basketball head coach in 1969 and compiled a 348-159 record in 17 seasons. Driesell led the Terps to one ACC title and eight NCAA appearances, and was a charismatic figure that once claimed he would build Maryland to be "the UCLA of the East."

Perhaps Driesell's most lasting legacy was coaching the 1974 Maryland team to an overtime loss in the ACC championship game to N.C. State. Maryland and NC State were considered two of the best teams in the country at that point, though only the conference champ made the NCAA tourney. After that classic game, the NCAA would go on to institute at-large berths for deserving teams that did not win their conference.

Driesell's reputation took some hits during the controversy that emerged following the death of Maryland star Len Bias. Driesell was the coach at the time of Bias' death, and the events would lead to Driesell giving up the coaching reins. In the time since, Driesell coached at James Madison and Georgia State, bringing both teams to NCAA Tournament berths. "Lefty" is also known for creating Midnight Madness; the now very popular practice of holding the first practice of the season at midnight and inviting fans to watch. 

“Lefty did a great job establishing a tradition for Maryland basketball,” Maryland men’s basketball coach Mark Turgeon said in a statement. “I know our alumni, former players, and our team is excited to have Lefty back on campus. It will be a great day for everyone involved with Maryland basketball.”