Maryland honors Lefty Driesell

Sports,Campus Confidential,Kevin Dunleavy,University of Maryland

Before Lefty Driesell’s arrival at Maryland in 1969, the only basketball that mattered in Washington was played by the area’s high schools. But Driessel had big ambitions, announcing upon his hire out of Davidson that the Terrapins would become the “UCLA of the East.”

Maryland never quite fulfilled that bombastic promise, but by signing national-level recruits such as Tom McMillen, Len Elmore, Moses Malone, and Albert King, Driesell transformed the Terrapins and made college basketball relevant in the area.

On Tuesday, Maryland announced that it will honor Driesell with a sculpture at Comcast Center. Driesell, who went 348-159 and led the Terps to eight NCAA appearances in 17 seasons, will be recognized during the Maryland-Clemson game on Feb. 23, and the bronze bas-relief sculpture will be dedicated on April 16.

“Lefty is a legendary coach and we are happy to recognize him on this special day,” athletic director Kevin Anderson said. “It will be exciting for our longtime fans to celebrate Lefty’s return to the university and we forward to the dedication.”

In a career that spanned more than 40 years, Driesell won 786 games. He also coached at James Madison and Georgia State. He is the originator of “Midnight Madness,” which he established in College Park in 1971.

“Lefty did a great job establishing a tradition for Maryland basketball,” Terps coach Mark Turgeon said. “I know our almni, 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.”

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