Former JMU Basketball Coach Lefty Driesell Dies

Image courtesy of JMU Athletics Communications

By Bennett Conlin

Charles “Lefty” Driesell, a legendary JMU men’s basketball coach, died at age 92. He passed away Saturday, JMU shared.

Driesell coached JMU from 1988-97, going 159-111. He took the Dukes to the postseason every year from 1990-94, with the 1994 season being an NCAA Tournament appearance. The Dukes ended the other four seasons in the NIT.

“Lefty was a larger-than-life figure who made a significant impact wherever he went, particularly at James Madison and our men’s basketball program,” JMU Athletic Director Jeff Bourne said in a statement. “Although my time at JMU did not overlap with his, his imprint on our program was evident from day one. On behalf of JMU Athletics, we are so grateful for Lefty’s contributions to JMU and to the sport of college basketball. We send our condolences to his family and friends.”

Driesell excelled at JMU, but he also thrived at three other college programs. He won over 100 games at JMU, Davidson, Maryland, and Georgia State.

At Maryland, Driesell won 348 games and took the Terps to multiple NCAA Tournaments and won an NIT title with the program. In his career, Driesell won 786 games as a head coach. He’s in both the JMU Athletics Hall of Fame and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

“He had great impact at JMU and a legendary impact on college basketball,” JMU head coach Mark Byington said in a statement.

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