Sad News – duke basket ball coach dies

Lefty Driesell, a former coach at Maryland, passed away at the age of 92.

Driesell attended Duke University to play basketball, graduating in 1954—three years before of the ACC’s founding. He was not the same.

At Davidson, where he began his collegiate coaching career, he helped the Southern Conference squad crack the Top Ten.

When depressing Maryland called in 1969, Driesell took the challenge, pledging to make an underappreciated program the “UCLA of the East.”

Although he was never able to reach that level, he made Maryland a national and ACC powerhouse. Legendary matches took place in the early 1970s between the Terrapins and NC State.

The Terps were remained a tough out and a consistently solid team after that early peak. And the entire audience was alternately entertained and incensed by Driesell’s outrageous energy level.

The Herman Veal fiasco generated a great deal of controversy.

Veal was accused of what was then referred to as unwanted approaches, but would now be considered sexual assault.

Driesell was charged with coercing Veal’s purported victim to end the conversation. After an investigation, the matter was eventually resolved. Ironically, it’s possible that Veal’s reception in Cameron contributed to the sympathy for him—a development that marked a significant turning point for the Cameron Crazies.

The passing of Len Bias was maybe the most tragic incident in ACC history and the most terrible thing to occur at Maryland under Driesell.

The night Bias was selected first overall by the Boston Celtics, he overdosed on drugs and died. After the investigation, Driesell and his program didn’t do well, and he was eventually fired as head coach.

A few years later, Driesell took up coaching at James Madison once more. This time, he was somewhat more successful than he had been at Maryland.

His final university was Georgia State. He had only two losing seasons in forty-one years.

Following his retirement, Driesell enjoyed a prosperous career as an ACC announcer, thanks to his innate charisma and astute observations about basketball.

There are nearly too many intriguing Lefty perspectives to explore. A few notable incidents included his recruiting by Moses Malone, his fierce competition with Dean Smith, his selfless deed of saving around ten children from a burning house, and his remarkable accent that concealed his German emigrant father’s identity.

And let’s not forget about his amusing friendship with the Cameron Crazies. Though more biased, that was still entertaining. In the past, they would paint fuel gauges on the front when it was empty and wear bald masks. Several Crazies, of course, showed up in a cast when Driesell arrived one year with his foot in one.

Not to be forgotten, Driesell previously declared that he would drive his automobile around North Carolina with the trophy strapped on the hood if he ever won the ACC Tournament—a promise he broke.

People were provoked by Driesell, and he had a lot of responsibility for the Veal and Bias incidents. Despite the fact that protecting his program was not the morally right or wise course of action in either scenario, Driesell was a kind and compassionate man beneath the bravado, fear, and sales tactics.

He and Joyce appeared to have a long and happy marriage. Even though his actions following Bias’s passing were long questioned, we heard an interview a few years back in which he was questioned about Bias and broke down, unable to continue.

Effective coaching ultimately comes down to your interpersonal skills. It’s obvious that he felt passionately for his former players, and it’s also evident that they cared about him.

For the rest of us, it represents the loss of yet another ACC icon. When he was at Maryland, he was enjoyable to dislike, but despite that, he was also simple to love.

Witnessing a guy like that go is difficult. Driesell and his family have my best wishes.

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