Lefty Driesell

Lefty Driesell (1931-2024)

Teams coached: Davidson Wildcats, Maryland Terrapins, James Madison Dukes, Georgia State Panthers
Davidson record: 176-65 (.730)
Maryland record: 348-159 (.686)
James Madison record: 159-111 (.589)
Georgia State record: 103-59 (.636)
Overall record: 786-394 (.666)

Career Accomplishments:


Coaching Career (head coach, unless noted):

1997-2003 Georgia State
1988-1996 James Madison
1969-1986 Maryland
1960-1969 Davidson

Lefty Driesell Facts

  • Charles Grice Driesell
  • Born December 25, 1931
  • Died February 17, 2024
  • Hometown: Norfolk, Virginia
  • Alma Mater: Duke University (BA, 1954)
  • Starred at Granby HS in Norfolk, VA, helping lead the school to a Virginia State Championship
    • Went on to play four seasons at Duke under head coach Harold Bradley; one of his teammates was future UConn coach Fred Shabel
    • Played semi-pro basketball after graduating from Duke in 1954 before getting into coaching
  • Started his coaching career at his alma mater Granby HS, first as JV head coach (one year) and then as varsity coach (one year)
  • Spent two seasons at Newport News HS (VA), a tenure that included a 57-game winning streak, before getting the Davidson job
    • Won 176 games in nine years, leading the Wildcats to three NCAA Tournaments (one Sweet Sixteen & two Elite Eights)
  • Left for Maryland in 1969, where he would lead the Terrapins basketball program for the next seventeen years
    • Won 348 games, two ACC titles and one ACC Tournament, taking the Terps to the postseason eleven times (eight NCAA, three NIT)
    • Served as assistant athletic director at Maryland for two years (1986-88)
    • Inducted into the University of Maryland Athletic Hall of Fame in 2002
  • Got back into coaching in 1988, spending the next nine years as head coach at James Madison
    • Won 159 games and went to one NCAA Tournament and four NITs
  • Finished his coaching career at Georgia State, winning 103 games there before retiring in January 2003; that was his sixth season at Georgia State and 41st as a collegiate head coach
  • Since 2009, the Lefty Driesell Award has been given to the best defensive player in NCAA Division I basketball
  • Along with his late wife, Joyce, had four children
    • One son, Chuck Driesell, has also spent time coaching basketball at the high school and collegiate levels
    • Joyce passed away in 2021; in February 2024, Lefty passed away at the age of 92

Lefty Driesell Coaching Tree

^ overall record includes head coaching positions at the NCAA level only