CHAPEL HILL, N.C. (AP) _ Lefty Driesell is settling into his new role as a color analyst on telecasts of Atlantic Coast Conference basketball games and says it would take ″a whole lot of money″ to lure him back into coaching.
Driesell will debut alongside play-by-play man Mike Patrick Wednesday night when North Carolina takes on Virginia in Charlottesville, Va.
Driesell, the coach at Maryland for 17 years before he was replaced by Bob Wade just before the start of the season, returned to the scene of ″one of my greatest victories″ last Thursday night in the Smith Center. Driesell was in Chapel Hill during a practice telecast for Jefferson-Pilot Teleproductions.
″I love it up here, I am going to enjoy it,″ said Driesell, whose Terrapins defeated then top-ranked North Carolina 77-72 last season. In that contest, former Maryland star Len Bias scored 35 points in the victory.
It was after Bias’ cocaine intoxication death last June 19 that Driesell was forced out of his job at Maryland.
″That (game) had to be a great moment. It is something I’ll always remember,″ said Driesell, reflecting on Bias’ performance. ″I told my players after the game they can come back in here and buy a ticket when you’re 90 years old, with your cane, and say we put the first licking on Carolina in this building. It was something.″
Driesell said he does prefer an air-conditioned announcing booth compared to North Carolina’s old home - Carmichael Auditorium.
″Carmichael used to get me because it got hot,″ he said. ″One year, I told my manager to get over there early in the morning and find out where the heat valve is ... and to turn that thing off or get a sledge hammer and break it.″
Driesell said he misses coaching, but not enough to go to Cole Field House, where he announced his resignation on Oct. 29.
″It’s the first time I’ve seen them (Maryland) play, first time I’ve seen them practice,″ he said in an interview with The Associated Press. ″I don’t hang around the gym too much. I feel a little bit out of place. The only reason I’m here tonight is that I’m doing this practice game.″
In July, Driesell will serve as head coach of the East squad in the U.S. Olympic Festival to be held in Raleigh, Chapel Hill, Durham and Greensboro.
However, Driesell said coaching at a big-time college may be a thing of the past for him.
″I got a pretty good deal at Maryland financially, so for me to get back (into coaching) somebody would have to offer me a lot of money. Money talks, I guess,″ he said.
″Yeah, I miss coaching, but I enjoy this (broadcasting). I walked in here tonight all relaxed,″ Driesell said. ″I have a cigar I’m going to smoke after the game. I don’t care who wins. It’s nice to come in here under these circumstances.″
After Wednesday night, Driesell is scheduled as color analyst for the North Carolina-North Carolina State game Feb. 5 in Raleigh and the Duke-North Carolina game on Feb. 26.