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NY Post
New York Post
17 Feb 2024

NextImg:Hall of Fame college basketball coach Lefty Driesell dead at 92

Legendary former college basketball coach Charles Grice “Lefty” Griesell has died at 92 years old.

The news was first announced by former Maryland congressman Tom McMillen, who played for Driesell at Maryland, on Facebook.

Driesell was most known for his time coaching Maryland from 1969-86, and also had head coaching tenures at Davidson, James Madison and Georgia State.

From 1986-88, he also served as Maryland’s assistant athletics director.

Lefty Driesell coached Maryland from 1969-86. Bettmann Archive
Lefty Driesell was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2018. Getty Images

Driesell’s college head coaching record was 786–394, and his Terrapins won the NIT in 1972, the ACC Tournament in 1984 and the regular season ACC championship in 1975 and 1980.

Driesell coached four teams to the Elite Eight and four to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.  

He also won conference coach of the year honors seven times combined at his three other coaching stops.

He is the only coach in NCAA history to have been named Coach of the Year in four different conferences (Southern Conference, Atlantic Coast Conference, Colonial Athletic Association, Atlantic Sun Conference).

Driesell was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2018.

Driesell resigned from Maryland in 1986 after small forward Len Bias, who had been selected second overall in the NBA draft by the Celtics, died of a cocaine overdose.

Driesell was accused of instructing assistant coach Oliver Purnell to cover up evidence of drug use at the scene.

“If I told him to clean up the room, I don’t remember it,” Driesell told The Ringer in 2021. “I remember, I think, telling him to go and tell the players to come to my house. I might’ve asked him, ‘Did you clean up the room?’ Or ‘Did you see any drugs?’ But I don’t remember that. I don’t think that.”

Georgia State basketball coach Lefty Driesell walks across the court as he gathers his team for practice Friday, Nov. 13, 1998, in Atlanta. Driesell, at 66, is one victory away from joining the exclusive 700-win club. Associated Press
Georgia State head coach Charles ‘Lefty’ Driesell talks to his team at practice in Atlanta on Tuesday, March 13, 2001. AP

“Hey, hold it, hold it,” he continued. “Say I did? So the freak what? He was in the hospital, they were going to find out if he was on drugs. Right? I mean, I never told him to clean out. I don’t think. I don’t know, maybe I did. But I wasn’t trying to hide that he was on drugs. Hey, everybody knew he was—the doctors were going to find out whether he was on drugs. I never told Oliver that, I don’t think. I think I told him to go over there and tell them to come to my house. Ask him.”

Driesell later added, “See, that’s what I don’t like about talking about this! To you or anybody else! I never— I loved Leonard Bias! If I thought he was on drugs, I’d have kicked his ass off the team. And—how the hell do I remember something 35 years ago?”

Lefty Driesell in 1981. Getty Images

Other players who starred for Driesell at Maryland included  Adrian Branch, Brad Davis, Albert King, Len Elmore, John Lucas and Buck Williams.

Driesell played center at Duke from 1951-54.