Baltimore Sun reporters Jeff Barker and Don Markus and producer-editor Jonas Shaffer weigh in on the three biggest topics of the past week in Maryland sports.
How significant is it that former Terps coaches Gary Williams and Lefty Driesell are both expected to be at Cole Field House for Maryland Madness tonight?
It’s very significant.
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For a long period, there wasn’t much unity between Driesell-era players and Maryland during William’s tenure as coach.
Driesell was forced out after the 1986 death of star player Len Bias, and many of his players and supporters believe he never got his due. Some kept their distance from the school.
When he became coach, Mark Turgeon sought to close those fissures. It helped that the school honored Driesell at halftime of last year’s Maryland-Clemson game.
North Carolina runs a promotion on its video board during home games in which players from various eras proudly say: "I'm a Tar Heel." That's the sort of unity Maryland is looking for.
The school wants all of its former players to be ambassadors for the program.
Last April 16, a number of Driesell’s former players attended a ceremony dedicating a bas-relief of Driesell to hang on a Comcast Center wall next to a portion of the Cole floor.
The two former coaches have always been cordial to one another. But Williams couldn’t have been pleased when Driesell objected to the idea of naming the Comcast Center floor for Williams in 2012.
Driesell said it wasn’t fair to his players to put a coach’s name on the floor.
Should Maryland rename Cole Field House the Driesell-Cole Field House, after its former coach?
Don Markus: On the same day that Alex Len announced last spring he was turning pro, the University of Maryland honored Driesell by unveiling the bas-relief sculpture in his likeness in the lobby of Comcast Center.
The Len news conference attracted a handful of reporters covering the men’s basketball team. The Driesell news conference that night brought back a who’s who of former Terps.
Though I had been around the school since Driesell's last season as coach, what I witnessed that night showed me the impact Driesell had on the Maryland basketball program.
Mark Turgeon said at the news conference that he probably would have not been interested in the job after Williams retired if not for what Driesell created decades before.
Williams wasn’t there that night, after Driesell spoke out against the court-naming in Williams’ honor at Comcast Center. Driesell had said that he didn't think the court should be named in anyone's honor or perhaps that women's coach Brenda Frese should share in it.
With Driesell expected to be on hand Friday night when Maryland Madness returns to Cole Field House for the first time since the Comcast Center opened in 2002, I think it’s time to get things moving in order to give the old lefthander his proper place in College Park.
It’s not just with a nice brass piece of art tucked away in the lobby of Comcast Center. Put his name on the building Driesell helped turn into one of the great college basketball venues in the country.