Driesell takes first shot at Hall of Fame

Former Maryland coach has 729 wins on resume

February 19, 2000|By Bill Free | Bill Free,SUN STAFF

Former Maryland coach Lefty Driesell is making his first bid this year for the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., while Jim Phelan, Phil Chenier, Gus Johnson, Morgan Wootten, Charlie Eckman and Paul Hoffman are in the midst of repeat attempts to be inducted during ceremonies set for Oct. 13.

If the seven men with close ties to basketball in the state of Maryland make it past the selection committee, they will go before an honors committee that choses a final list of inductees.

The selection committee is expected to chose about 20 names in late March. The honors committee will determine the inductees by the end of June.

Driesell, 68, is now the head coach at Georgia State and has 729 victories. His team is 13-11 this season after an 0-6 start.

Phelan, Chenier and Wootten are making their fourth runs at the hall, and Johnson, Hoffman and Eckman are trying for the sixth time.

The honors committee usually sends two to eight people into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Phelan, Johnson and Wootten have made it before the honors committee in the past.

Phelan, who has missed the past three Mount St. Mary's games due to pneumonia, has 806 victories.

While Driesell and Phelan have made their marks as college basketball coaches, Wootten has made national headlines during a celebrated high school coaching career at DeMatha.

The late Eckman was a collegiate and NBA referee and coached the NBA Pistons in Fort Wayne and Detroit. Chenier played for the Baltimore and Washington Bullets, the late Gus Johnson performed many wondrous dunking feats for the Baltimore Bullets, and the late Paul Hoffman was one of the original stars for the Baltimore Bullets.

Former Detroit Pistons star Isiah Thomas is considered a virtual certainty to be chosen this year.

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