COLLEGE PARK -- Maryland's newest assistant basketball coach began his first day on the job yesterday publicly thanking Gary Williams for the opportunity and talking about what he can add to the struggling program other than a name.
Chuck Driesell, son of former Terps coach Lefty Driesell, was hired to replace Rob Moxley, who took an associate head coaching position at North Carolina-Charlotte. Driesell said the emotions connected with returning to his alma mater, where his father achieved both fame and infamy from 1969 to 1986, were "indescribable."
"This is a dream come true for me to be a part of Coach Williams' staff and be back at Maryland," said Driesell, a 1985 graduate and former Terps shooting guard. "Coach Williams and I have a relationship. He knows and I know I can bring a lot of hard work, loyalty, and whatever he needs me to do for him to have a successful program."
Driesell and Williams spoke of the legacy, but Williams said the hire was made on merit.
"Chuck Driesell was hired based on what he is as a basketball coach," said Williams, who interviewed Driesell to be an assistant coach last year. "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."
Driesell, a Silver Spring native, spent the past two seasons as head coach at Bishop Ireton High School in Alexandria, Va., and said there's "no question" he'll have an advantage with recruiting in the area.
"Those two years at Bishop Ireton have been tremendous for me," he said. " ... That experience they provided me - the athletic director over there and the principal - will prepare me for this job in helping Coach Williams in the recruiting efforts we have to have."
Before the job at Bishop Ireton, Driesell was an assistant coach and recruiting coordinator at Georgetown from 2003 to 2004. He was also an assistant under his father at James Madison, but the staff was fired after nine seasons and only one NCAA tournament appearance.
Driesell then spent six seasons as head coach at Division III Marymount in Arlington, Va., where he compiled an 88-72 record. During the 1999-2000 season, Driesell led Marymount to its first Division III NCAA tournament appearance.
Williams said he was looking to hire a coach who could easily develop a connection with the players who are currently in the program, and that nobody on staff is deemed a "top assistant."
"The most important thing for me as a staff is for the staff to get along because you do spend quite a bit of time together, especially during the season," Williams said. "I've known Chuck a long time. I interviewed him extensively last year before we made a hire, so I felt very comfortable in talking with Chuck this year. I think he's going to be a great addition to the staff."