- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 3, 2006

In the more than two decades since he played for his father at Maryland, Chuck Driesell had hoped to someday return to College Park as part of the Terrapins’ basketball program.

It finally arrived yesterday when Driesell, the son of former Maryland coach Lefty Driesell, was hired as an assistant coach.

“This feeling I have today is undescribable,” said Driesell, who coached at Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria the last two years. “I have a great deal of appreciation to coach [Gary] Williams for giving me this opportunity to be a part of his staff and come back to my school. … This is a dream come true.”

Driesell replaces Rob Moxley, who spent one year at Maryland before returning to Charlotte as the 49ers’ associate head coach last month. Driesell joins a program that has missed the NCAA tournament the last two years.

Few surnames generate as much interest among Maryland fans as Driesell. Lefty Driesell turned Maryland into an NCAA tournament regular and won 348 games in 17 seasons — a record that stood until Williams broke it in February — before departing in the wake of Len Bias’ cocaine-induced death in 1986.

“Naturally, the genes don’t hurt, but at the same time I wouldn’t hire somebody just because he was somebody’s son if I didn’t think he was a very good basketball coach,” Williams said.

The move also will make Driesell’s father a more frequent guest at Comcast Center. Lefty Driesell has made a handful of appearances in College Park since retiring from Georgia State in 2003, but has spent much of his time following Chuck’s games and the high school careers of his grandchildren.

“I’m ecstatic. I think it’s great,” Lefty Driesell said in a telephone interview. “He’s had to recruit at every job he’s had, and I think he’s a great floor coach. The year we went 29-5 at Georgia State, I ran his offense. He’ll do a great job at Maryland. I’m glad he’s working for Gary. He’ll learn a lot from him and be loyal and hopefully help Maryland win another national championship.”

Chuck Driesell, who played at Maryland from 1981 to 1985, started his coaching career with a four-year stint at the Naval Academy Prep School. He later served nine seasons as an assistant under his father at James Madison before coaching at Division III Marymount in Arlington for six years.

Driesell spent a season as an assistant at Georgetown under Craig Esherick and landed at Bishop Ireton after Esherick’s dismissal. Though his stint at the prep level was short, it still should have a significant influence on Driesell’s work at Maryland.

“It’s opened my eyes to the incredible importance of teaching the fundamentals,” Driesell said. “Not that I didn’t respect that part of the game nor did I not implement it as a college coach or as an assistant, but at that level it’s all fundamentals … It was good for me because I had to teach it, and that’s what this game is all about.

Driesell eventually could provide stability to a staff that has experienced turnover in each of the last three offseasons. Assistant Jimmy Patsos left for Loyola in 2004 and Matt Kovarik joined Patsos’ staff that season. Both Dave Dickerson (Tulane) and Mike Lonergan (Vermont) took head coaching jobs in 2005, the latter after spending one year at Maryland.

Michael Adams and Keith Booth remain on Williams’ staff, though neither has been with the Terps for more than two seasons.

Driesell’s experiences with area high school and AAU players and coaches likely will help the Terps in recruiting. Of course, his own familiarity with Maryland should also benefit the program.

“I grew up [on] Maryland basketball,” said Driesell, who also interviewed with Williams for a job as an assistant last year. “I was a ball boy here, a water boy and then I came and played here. It’s a bit undescribable the connection that I have to this place.”

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