Some Southern Conference season soon, Chuck Driesell will establish himself as a fine head basketball coach.

Maybe next year.

The next?

Maybe long after a typically long Citadel learning curve, and maybe somewhere else.

There are things to like about the Bulldogs' new coach, officially introduced Tuesday.

Larry Leckonby likes him. Always good to have a good working relationship with the athletic director.

Driesell's father, Lefty, was a colorful and successful ACC head coach at Maryland.

Maryland head coach Gary Williams, underrated and owner of a national championship ring, fully endorses the guy, calling him a "relentless worker."

Williams said almost exactly the same thing about another one of his former assistant coaches, when Clemson plucked Rick Barnes from Providence (Barnes worked for Williams at Ohio State).

Chuck Driesell, 46, seems personable.

Still, one can't help but wonder. What are the odds that the best candidate in a "national search" turns out to be an assistant coach employed within the exact same Maryland athletic department offices where Leckonby worked before arriving at The Citadel in 2008?

Both 'relentless'

Son of Lefty has been a head coach, but at tiny NCAA Division III Marymount in Arlington, Va., and his record was 88-72.

Coaches without ties to The Citadel tend to take longer to adjust to a unique academic environment in which the cadets have extra duties.

When curious about a hire, always check with the arch-rival.

As College of Charleston head coach Bobby Cremins talks about one Driesell, it sounds like Gary Williams talking about the other.

"Lefty was a relentless recruiter," Cremins said Tuesday. "Just relentless. I've always had great respect for Lefty. He was so tough to recruit against."

Those were some of the ACC's most glorious years, the late 1980s when league head coaches included Dean Smith, Mike Krzyzewski, Jim Valvano, Terry Holland, Cliff Ellis, Cremins and Lefty.

"It's a great opportunity for Chuck," said Cremins, who does not know the younger Driesell beyond chance meetings on the summer recruiting circuit. "He should have a very nice team. It will be interesting coaching against Lefty's son. It will bring back a lot of memories."

Following Ed

Driesell replaces Citadel graduate Ed Conroy, who parlayed relative greatness into a lucrative jump to Tulane. Two straight non-losing seasons were a big hit for a program best known for Pat Conroy's basketball memoir "My Losing Season."

A huge part of Conroy's success the last two years: 3-1 against Cremins and two good College of Charleston teams.

"I was very happy for Ed," Cremins said. "He doubled his salary. It's a tough job at Tulane but it's a great city. He did a great job at The Citadel, and the past couple of years they had our number."

For all the differences, Driesell and Conroy have similarities. Conroy also came to The Citadel with small college head coaching experience (Francis Marion) and an ACC tie to the hiring athletic director (he was an assistant coach under Les Robinson at N.C. State, and recruited by Robinson to play at The Citadel).

At least the "tough act to follow" stuff will not bother the new man on campus. Lefty's son has lived it all his life.

Reach Gene Sapakoff at or (843) 937-5593.