Mr. Charles Grice "Lefty" Driesell

b. 25 Dec 1931 - Norfolk, VA

Currently residing in VA

Granby High School, Class of 1950
Duke University, B.A

Physical Education, Hygiene, Driver's Training, Varsity Basketball Coach,
Sponsor of the Sophomore Class of 1959 ('61)

1958 Anchor, p. 11 1959 Anchor, p. 75 U. of MD Newsline MSN SportsNet - 01/03/03 - 01/03/03
11/19/02 - Courtesy of Norm Covert ('61) of MD - 03/11/09
Thanks, Norm!
04/28/04 04/28/04 04/28/04 04/28/04

Davidson College, University of Maryland (1969-1986), James Madison University (1988-1987),
Georgia State University - retired Jan 2003 as Head Basketball Coach

"The Fourth Winningest Coach in College Basketball"

... about Lefty Driesell... true story... one afternoon I was in the gym shooting, and he came in and said 'Hines, give me
the ball!'... so I threw him the ball, and he hooked it in - nothing but net, I promise - from mid court at the sideline!!! Yeah,
my jaw dropped. Basketball is still my favorite sport, even though I didn't make the school team, I played every chance
and everywhere I could, but I have no regrets-I got such a kick out of watching the real players on the court... I  still tell
people about the figure 8, and why the guys did it (yeah, I know-because Coach made 'em!) ...
But it was, and still is an NNHS trademark...

- Jimmy Hines ('64) of Northern VA - 03/23/05
Thanks, Jim!

I think many of your subscribers who follow college basketball will enjoy reading
this interview posted on the internet.
The link is: 

Coach Charles "Lefty" Driesell answers a question the interviewer asked him about the three most memorable events
in his long coaching career, and he makes reference to winning the State Championship while coaching the TYPHOON
in 1958, the year the TYPHOON went undefeated in Basketball.
The CBS Television special that aired yesterday before the Elite Eight games in the NCAA Championship got me to thinking
about Coach Driesell, and I thought many would also find the internet page interesting, even though it is a couple of years
old now. March Madness is at a fever pitch!

- Joe Madagan ('57) of FL - 03/28/05
Thanks, Joe!

It seems like my whole life has been spend being where I am not supposed to be.  The only girl in a family of 5 kids; one woman in 100 women at VaTech in the early 1960s; the only woman in an engineering office who wasn't a secretary until about 1995; the one person in the crowd whose high school coach was Lefty Driesell!  I was at a March Madness party a number of years ago (when Lefty Driesell was at MD) and people were talking about his statistics, what a great coach he was, yada, yada.  I mentioned that he had been our coach at NNHS.  I was fussed at because everyone was sure I was telling tall tales.  Well, Lefty was interviewed at half time (when the score was way lop sided his way) and the interviewer asked him what his plans were after he retired.  The interviewer asked had he ever thought of coaching at a high school.  He answered that he had coached . . . and everyone at the party heard what he said.  They were surprised that I had known that.  

- Kathy Pilgrim Clark ('63) of VA - 03/28/05
Thanks, Kathy!

I have finally written my Lefty Driesell story that I mentioned many newsletters ago.  A while
ago Joe Madagan ('57 - of FL) asked about my story. All those times I saw Joeís name on the
newsletter pages, I could not remember who he was. So tonight I looked him up in my 1957
, and my goodness, it all came back to me. I remember him! Itís odd to realize that the
images of all the teachers and students I knew at NNHS are frozen in my mind as they looked

Well, here is my story. I hope Joe enjoys it as much as I enjoyed remembering it!

Although I signed up for behind-the-wheel training in Driver Edís class, my family did not have a
car. Even to this day, at almost 91 years of age, my father has never owned a car. Instead we rode
taxis, trains, or buses. But being 16 and convinced that I would be the laughing stock of the entire
NNHS student body if it was known that my backward family did not own a car, I kept that a secret.
So when it was time to sign up for behind the wheel, of course, I never owned up to the fact that we
were ďcarless.Ē

Coach Driesell taught Behind-the-Wheel in eleventh grade Driverís Ed. Every day two or three of us
got into the car and Lefty drove us over to the neighborhoods off 16th Street to practice driving. First
we had to learn what was under the hood. Well, I could learn all of those and I did. When it was my
turn to name all the parts under the hood, I aced it.

Then came the practice driving. In 1958 everything was standard transmission. Lefty told us more
than once that the practice we were doing would not be enough. We were to go home and practice
in our family cars with our parents. Well, I couldnít do that, so I didnít, but I never let on to Lefty
or anyone that I could not. In the quiet neighborhoods of Stuart Gardens we took turns driving,
practicing our stops, slowing down, turning. In those days we had to give hand signals. Slowing down
or stopping and starting meant shifting gears, but there was little or no traffic in the area, so I was
able to steer straight enough while shifting gears to satisfy Lefty and nobody guessed my secret.

Thus I got by.

Finally, we progressed to taking turns driving back to NNHS. Our route went down 16th street
to Jefferson Avenue, then left onto 25th to Huntington and back to the school on 30th Street. Thatís
when the FATEFUL DAY happened. 

On a bright, sunny day, approaching the end of the class period when it was time to return to school,
Coach Driesell said it was my turn to drive back to school. I was nervous because this meant I would
be in traffic. Driving in the empty neighborhoods was one thing but trying to give a hand signal while
shifting gears and slowing down, putting everything together while maneuvering through traffic was
another, especially when I had never once practiced anything at home.

I drove down 16th, made the right turn onto Jefferson. That wasnít too bad, though I was shaking like
a leaf. I drove down Jefferson to 25th  where I would have to make a left turn in front of oncoming
traffic. There was a traffic light at the intersection. I donít remember what color. All I know is that a
car was coming and I was turning across in front of it. There was a grade there and if you didnít
know how to feather the clutch, and I didnít, you could get into trouble, and I did. So the other car
was coming, I was turning, and trying to give a hand signal, shift the gear and keep the car
from slipping on the grade, and give it gas to make it go, all at the same time, and the car stalled, but
the oncoming car didnít. Lefty shouted, #@%!#,  Aretie, what the #@!#!# are you doing??!! He took the
wheel and took over with the pedals on his side, just barely getting us out of the way of the oncoming
car. Iíll never forget his voice and the look on his face. I think I was more scared of Lefty than I was
of the other car though.

- Aretie Gallins Patterson ('59) of Northern VA - 09/15/05
GIGGLES!!!  Thanks, Aretie!

...Among the jewels I discovered in it was this moment in time. With the 2009 NCAA March Madness now in its opening stages,
I thought, "How many fans can boast such a valuable signature as shown here!" I retained the photo with 1958-59 Captain Harry
Conn ('59 - of VA) and the printed season results.

I was never one for autographs, but this is a great one. Charles G. (Lefty) Driessell certainly went on to bigger and better things
at Davidson College and later the University of Maryland, where he proclaimed without objection that the Terrapins were the
"UCLA of the East!"


1959 Anchor, p. 75

Those of you who attended the September 2006 reunion at the Canepa Cottage in Buckroe (hosted by Evelyn
Fryer Fish - '58 - of TX) had the opportunity to renew OLD acquaintances with Our Old Ball Coach, Lefty. He is one
of a kind. I've attached one of the photos from your site in case you couldn't access it.

- Norm Covert ('61) of MD - 03/11/09
Thanks, Norm!

Saturday, September 30, 2006, 4:48 PM
Lefty Driessell (Granby HS - '50) of VA and Eleanor Buckley Nowitzky ('59) of NC

Thought I would share my achievement and memories of Saunders Stadium....I already have a piece of the cement wall that surrounded that place ! 
I got it in 1959 when I, not being used to power steering, turned a corner and ran into the Stadium wall in my mother's brand new two day old, Plymouth
Station Wagon !  The damage done to the wall and the car was nothing compared to the damage that was done to me after my dad told her what happened ! 
Daddy always ran interference for me and I was never again allowed to drive my mother's car...   I would like to add that I was taking Driver's Ed and
Lefty Driesell was my teacher.  After facing my mom the next hardest thing I had to do was face Lefty and pray that he wouldn't flunk me....he didn't ...such
a kind and understanding man...he could have given my mom lessons in compassion !   Every time I look at that small chunk
I have memories of Newport News High School that no one else has !

 - Dimples Dinwiddie Prichard ('58) of NC - 05/27/09
YOWZERONI-WOWZERONI!! What a classic memory! Thanks, Dimples!

Great article in Washington Post on Lefty Driesell -

- Jo Ann Stewart ('64) of Northern VA - 02/25/13
WOWZERS-YOWZERS! Thanks so much, JoAnn!

Maryland! My Maryland!
The despot's heel is on thy shore,
His torch is at thy temple door,
Avenge the patriotic gore
That flecked the streets of Baltimore,
And be the battle queen of yore,
Maryland! My Maryland!

Hark to an exiled son's appeal,
My Mother State! to thee I kneel,
For life or death, for woe or weal,
Thy peerless chivalry reveal,
And gird they beauteous limbs with steel,
Maryland! My Maryland!

Thou wilt not cower in the dust,
Thy beaming sword shall never rust,
Remember Carroll's sacred trust,
Remember Howard's warlike thrust,-
And all thy slumberers with the just,
Maryland! My Maryland!
Come! 'tis the red dawn of the day,
Come with thy panoplied array,
With Ringgold's spirit for the fray,
With Watson's blood at Monterey,
With fearless Lowe and dashing May,
Maryland! My Maryland!

Come! for thy shield is bright and strong,
Come! for thy dalliance does thee wrong,
Come to thine own anointed throng,
Stalking with Liberty along,
And sing thy dauntless slogan song,
Maryland! My Maryland!

Dear Mother! burst the tyrant's chain,
Virginia should not call in vain,
She meets her sisters on the plain-
Sic semper! 'tis the proud refrain
That baffles minions back amain,
Arise in majesty again,
Maryland! My Maryland!
I see the blush upon thy cheek,
For thou wast ever bravely meek,
But lo! there surges forth a shriek,
From hill to hill, from creek to creek,
Potomac calls to Chesapeake,
Maryland! My Maryland!

Thou wilt not yield the Vandal toll,
Thou wilt not crook to his control,
Better the fire upon thee roll,
Better the shot, the blade, the bowl,
Than crucifixion of the Soul,
Maryland! My Maryland!

I hear the distant thunder-hum,
The Old Line bugle, fife, and drum,
She is not dead, nor deaf, nor dumb-
Huzza! She spurns the Northern scum!
She breathes! She burns! She'll come! She'll come!
Maryland! My Maryland!

"Maryland, My Maryland" midi courtesy of,
at the suggestion of Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 12/29/04
Thanks, Dave!

"Maryland, My Maryland" lyrics courtesy of,
also at the suggestion of Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 12/29/04
Thanks again, Dave!

Animated Sinking Basketball clip art courtesy of - 03/26/04

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