COLLEGE PARK, Md., Oct. 14, 2016 /PRNewswire/ -- As Midnight Madness unfolds at the University of Maryland XFINITY Center tonight, supporters of former UMD Coach Lefty Driesell will launch a campaign and website (www.leftyhof.com) to encourage the selection of Driesell for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Driesell, the inventor of Midnight Madness, which is the traditional opening night of the college basketball season, is widely hailed as one of the sport's creative geniuses and a legendary recruiter.
Dubbed "the greatest program builder in the history of college basketball," Driesell was renowned for taking four college basketball programs – which had never before experienced on-court success – and transforming them into national contenders. With these programs -- Davidson, University of Maryland, JMU and Georgia State -- he amassed 786 wins and had only two losing seasons over his monumental 50-year career. Driesell was best known for his tenure at Maryland from 1969 – 1986, where he invented Midnight Madness to help motivate his team in 1970 and where he injected new life into a sleepy, local basketball program and put DC basketball on the map.
Former Congressman Tom McMillen, the celebrated UMD player under Coach Driesell from 1970-1974, is an outspoken advocate of Lefty's admission to the Hall of Fame. "Coach had a distinguished and exceptional career," praises McMillen. "It is time for the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame's nominating committees to recognize what he achieved and put him among the other greats of basketball, with whom he has proven that he belongs." A long line of Hall of Fame coaches and players have previously voiced their support for Driesell, including Coach Mike Krzyzewski from Duke who said, "Lefty is one of the top coaches ever in the college game," as well as former Georgetown coach John Thompson, who stated, "Lefty has never been given the credit he deserves. The man was one of the best that ever did it and needs to be in the Naismith Hall of Fame." Fans who want to join in the effort can go to the website and sign their name.
When asked, Driesell said being inducted into the Hall of Fame would be the capstone to his professional career and would serve as a tribute to the great institutions he served, the outstanding players he coached and the dedicated staff who worked alongside him. Lefty retired in 2003 as the fourth most winningest coach in college basketball history.
SOURCE Friends and Family of Coach Lefty Driesell