Former Maryland coach Lefty Driesell not named a finalist for Naismith Hall of Fame

One week after a banner in his honor was hung at Xfinity Center in College Park, former Maryland coach Lefty Driesell was not among the 14 finalists announced Saturday for this year's Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame class.

A year ago, the now-85-year-old Driesell was a finalist, but was not elected.


Former Dunbar High, Wake Forest and NBA star Muggsy Bogues, as well as longtime Mount St. Mary's coach Jim Phelan, were also among those nominated this year who failed to gain enough votes to become finalists. Phelan spent 49 years coaching the Emittsburg school, winning 830 games on the Division I and II levels. The Mountaineers won what was called the College Division national title in 1961-62.

Two former college coaches, Rollie Massimino of Villanova and Bo Ryan of Wisconsin, as well as current Kansas coach Bill Self, are among the finalists who will learn in April whether they will be headed to Springfield, Mass., in early September.


Driesell, who coached 17 seasons at Maryland and won 348 games, finished a 41-year coaching career at Georgia State in 2003 with 786 victories, which ranked fourth all-time among Division I coaches when he retired.

Along with taking his Maryland teams to eight NCAA tournaments, twice reaching the Elite Eight and three times getting to the Sweet 16, Driesell's 1971-72 team won the National Invitation Tournament. He is also widely credited with starting Midnight Madness, while in College Park in 1970.

Prior to coming to Maryland in 1969 and famously proclaiming that the Terps could become "the UCLA of the East," Driesell coached at Davidson for nine years, leading the Wildcats to the Elite Eight in his last two seasons as well as to the Sweet 16 in 1965-66. After Maryland, Driesell coached at James Madison and Georgia State.

Driesell is the only coach in Division I history to win at least 100 games at four different schools and take each to the NCAA tournament. He was forced out at Maryland a few months after All-American Len Bias' cocaine-induced death in June 1986.