Maryland has finalized plans to honor former basketball coach Lefty Driesell with a bronze relief that will hang at Comcast Center, sources say.
Driesell is to be honored at the Clemson game Feb. 23. Then, on April 16, a number of Driesell’s former players are expected to attend a ceremony to unveil the bronze bas-relief.
It “will be displayed on the Comcast wall interior next to the portion of the floor from Cole Field House,” said a letter circulated among Driesell’s supporters to raise funds for the project.
The relief is being created by Maryland artist, Antonio (Toby) Mendez, who did a number of statues of former Orioles greats adjacent to Camden Yards.
Driesell was 348-159 (68 percent) in 17 Maryland seasons before being forced out following the 1986 death of star player Len Bias.
Driesell’s backers have long said the coach never got his due from Maryland, which named the Comcast Center court for Gary Williams during a ceremony last season.
Driesell has also been nominated again for the Basketball Hall of Fame. The list of nominees this year includes not one, but two former Maryland coaches – Driesell and Gary Williams.
Williams and Driesell will learn during this weekend’s NBA All-Star events whether they have become finalists. Candidates need seven of nine votes from the hall’s North American Committee to make the cut.
Williams was 461-252 at the school and won the 2002 national championship.
Driesell, 81, who lives in Virginia Beach, Va., won 786 games at four schools. A number of coaches with fewer wins are enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. They include John Chaney, Lute Olson, Hank Iba, Roy Williams, and Ray Meyer. Active coaches may be considered if they have coached at least 25 years.
Driesell has said he can't help but wonder if circumstances surrounding the cocaine-induced death of Bias is keeping him out.
“It doesn't bother me that I'm not in there," Driesell said after missing out two years ago. "I'd just like to know why."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun