There came a time late in his tenure in College Park that Maryland’s basketball coach decided he no longer wanted to be called by his more recognized nickname, Lefty, or by the generic “Coach.”

He wanted to be known as Mr. Charles G. Driesell from that point on.

The change didn’t last long. But the message was clear. The Old Lefthander felt he deserved more respect than he was getting.

There was a twinge of entitlement to his request. But for the most part, he had a point.

Until finally being inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007 and the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame a decade later, Driesell – who died Saturday at the age of 92 – was never truly appreciated for the coach, the innovator and the showman that he truly was.

He was a Dukie, but became a favorite target of the Cameron Crazies. They taunted him by wearing skinhead wings with gas gauges pointed to empty written on the forehead, prompting him to famously say in his trademark Southern drawl “I might not be as smart as some of those other boys, but ah kin coach.”

His success stories include the likes of Hall of Famers Tom McMillen, Len Elmore and John Lucas, but he’s most often associated with the tragedy that befell another of his players, Len Bias.

He won an NIT championship and 2 ACC regular season titles and a conference tournament crown with the Terrapins, but is best remembered for a game his team lost.

He couldn’t even catch a break when it came to reaching milestones. It took 4 tries for him to win his 500th career in 1985. When he finally did, against Towson State, the cake Maryland had prepared for occasion had gone stale.

Driesell was brash, colorful, passionate and unapologetic. But he was also genuine and true to his word.

The man could coach.

He didn’t quite turn Maryland into the “UCLA of the East,” as he boasted upon getting the job in 1969. But he did succeed in making the Terps nationally relevant while helping the ACC become the best, most recognizable conference in college basketball.

He finished his career with 786 wins at 4 schools – Davidson, Maryland, James Madison and Georgia State – all of which he led to the NCAA Tournament.

And yet, he always seemed to be overshadowed by others. Especially his long-time nemesis Dean Smith at North Carolina.

That’s a shame. Because there was much more to Driesell than the sideline foot stomps, the folksy personality and even the victories.

He was an innovator responsible for starting the tradition of Midnight Madness. In his desire to make Cole Field House more of a homecourt advantage, he was among the 1st to bring his school’s student section close to the floor to add to the intimidation factor for opponents.

And while he wasn’t directly involved in the decision, his team’s 103-100 overtime loss to NC State in the 1974 ACC Tournament – considered to be the greatest game in ACC history – led directly to the NCAA expanding its tournament to allow more than 1 team per conference in the field.

That game helped spark another Maryland tradition. One famously carried on by another former Terp coach, Gary Williams.

Driesell, who actually was left-handed even though his nickname was inspired by a Country singer named Lefty Frizzell, frequently complained about the ACC’s perceived bias toward its 4 North Carolina teams.

He became so obsessed with winning the league’s tournament title that after one particular disappointment, he vowed that he’d bolt the trophy to the hood of his car “and drive around North Carolina” to celebrate.

His celebration was tame by comparison when his Terps finally gave him his long-awaited title in 1985. It was by far the high point of his 17 seasons at Maryland.

The low point came just 1 year later.

Early on the morning of June 19, 1986, 1 day after being selected No. 2 overall by the Boston Celtics, Bias died of a cocaine-induced heart attack in a Maryland dorm room surrounded by several Terp teammates.

A criminal investigation cleared Driesell of any responsibility in Bias’ death. But Maryland administrators, eager to find a scapegoat to blame for athletic department issues that spread well beyond the basketball program, forced the long-time coach out anyway.

His “resignation” press conference was held at Cole Field House. The microphones were set up under one of the baskets and after reading his statement, Driesell turned and locked in the arms of his wife and 2 children, silently walked the length of the court and out the tunnel at the opposite end of the arena.

And presumably, into the sunset of his coaching career.

But Driesell wasn’t finished. He went on to enjoy a successful 2nd chapter at James Madison, then Georgia State. He is still the only coach in college basketball history to win at least 100 games and get to the NCAA Tournament at 4 different schools.

It’s an appropriate legacy.

Because while Driesell never got the respect he earned and deserved he was truly one of a kind.