Lefty was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2018. He was the Head Basketball Coach (never an assistant) at Granby and Newport News High Schools, Davidson College, University of Maryland, James Madison University, and Georgia State University. His achievements and contributions to the game of college basketball and his investment in the lives of hundreds of young men are too numerous to list but are well-documented in the media. His children and grandchildren remain his biggest fans, and while proud of his coaching accolades, they want others to know that there was so much more to love about him. They give thanks to God for the 92 years Lefty stirred up excitement, laughter, and fun in this world. Whether coaching, recruiting, storytelling, boating, and living the beach life; there are endless memories of Lefty adventures and antics. His spirit remained strong to the end and true to form, his life went into OT. He spent his final days exactly where he wanted to be – in his home overlooking the Chesapeake Bay beach where his story with Joyce began.
Charles Grice “Lefty” Driesell went to his everlasting victory on February 17, 2024. The southpaw was born in Norfolk, VA on Christmas Day 1931 to Frank and Lucy Driesell. Charles (as his mother always called him) became a manager of the Granby sports teams in second grade and went on to play varsity basketball, baseball, and football, becoming known to all as “Lefty.” The star athlete courted Granby Cheerleader Joyce Gunter and they became high school sweethearts. While Lefty was at Duke University on a basketball scholarship, he convinced Joyce to take a bus to Durham, NC, so they could elope; on December 14, 1951, they were married at the Durham courthouse and together they coached Lefty’s Most Valuable Team: their family.
With Joyce’s support, Lefty graduated from Duke University, earned his master’s degree from William and Mary College, left a stable job at the Ford factory to coach high school basketball and in 1960 launched what became a legendary career as a Division 1 coach. He accumulated 786 wins over 41 seasons and scored a lifetime of friends. Players, coaches, managers, administrators, and fans from all seasons of his life supported him to the end, and the family is especially grateful for the ways they loved him during the difficult years without Joyce by his side.
Lefty is survived by his 4 children and their families: Patti Moynihan and children Michael Moynihan, Patrick Moynihan, Morgan Hollings (husband Preston, son Easton); Pam Driesell (husband Joe Loveland) and children Tysor Anderson and Walker Anderson; Chuck Driesell (wife Paula Driesell) and children Taylor Driesell, Brette Driesell, Luke Driesell; Carolyn Kammeier (husband Brett Kammeier) and children Jake Kammeier, Charlie Kammeier, Christian Kammeier; sister Martha Driesell and her children Bill, Charles, Martha and Richard and their families; sister-in-law Margaret Gunter and her children Matt and Claire and their families; “sister” Diane Hodgson and her family; and a host of other beloved relatives and family-like friends. He is predeceased by his parents Frank and Lucy Driesell, brother-in-law William Gunter, sister-in-law June Batson, and lifelong sweetheart Joyce Lee Gunter Driesell.
The family extends their heartfelt gratitude to the many caregivers and neighbors in Virginia Beach, VA and Bethany Beach, DE who cared for him with patience, love, and dignity during his last season of life, especially Taylor Marron and Glenn Hamilton.
A visitation will be held Monday March 4 from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm at HD Oliver Funeral Home 1501 Colonial Avenue Norfolk, VA. followed by a 1:00 pm Celebration of Life Worship Service at First Presbyterian Church Norfolk 820 Colonial Ave. followed by a private family burial.
Those who wish to make a memorial donation may contribute to Charles “Lefty” Driesell Endowed Scholarship at the University of Maryland or the “Lefty” Driesell Memorial Fund of the Jimmy V- Victory over Cancer Foundation v.org/lefty.