Len Chappell Named ACC Legend
March 19, 2008
Greensboro, NC--Two of the winningest basketball coaches in ACC and NCAA Division I history, the author of one of the most famous shots in the history of the NCAA Basketball Tournament, seven former first-round NBA draft picks, five former All-Americas and players with a total of 95 years of experience in the NBA and ABA, are represented among the 12 Atlantic Coast Conference Basketball Tournament Legends announced recently by Commissioner John Swofford.
The Legend's Class is led by a pair of coaches who are in the National College Basketball Hall of Fame and have combined for 1,665 victories between them. Former North Carolina Head Coach Dean Smith, who ranks 2nd on the NCAA career wins for coaches with 879 victories in a 36-year career, and former Maryland Head Coach Charles "Lefty" Driesell, who currently ranks 7th on the NCAA all-time Division I victories list for head coaches with 786 wins in a 41-year career that spanned four schools--Maryland (1970-85), Davidson (1961-69), James Madison (1989-97) and Georgia State (1998-2003).
Smith, who spent his entire head coaching career at UNC, coached the Tar Heels to 11 Final Fours and two national titles and was the NCAA's all-time leader in victories at his retirement in 1997 and is still the ACC's all-time leader in victories.
Driesell, who was 348-159 (.686) during his time in College Park, led the Terrapins to the 1984 ACC Championship and was named ACC Coach of the Year twice, in 1975 and 1980.
Joining the "The Dean" and the "Old Lefthander" are NC State's Lorenzo Charles (1982-85) whose follow dunk at the buzzer of the 1983 NCAA Championship Game sent the 1983 Cardiac Pack and their mercurial head coach, Jim Valvano, into basketball immortality; Duke's Mike Gminski (1977-80), the 1979 ACC Player of the Year who led the Blue Devils to the 1978 NCAA Championship; Georgia Tech's Kenny Anderson (1990-91), who led the Yellow Jackets to the 1990 NCAA Final Four as the triggerman at the point for Tech's famed "Lethal Weapon Three"; and Wake Forest's Len Chappell (1960-62), the sharp shooting forward who was ACC Player of the Year in 1961 and 1962, led the Deacons to the 1962 NCAA Final Four.
Completing this year's class is Boston College's Bill Curley (1991-94), one of the eight former NBA first round draftees and one of the best big men in BC history; Clemson's Elden Campbell (1987-90), one of the top all-around big men in ACC history who went on to a 15-year career in the NBA; Florida State's Charlie Ward (1991-94), who in addition to winning a Heisman Trophy on the gridiron, led the Seminoles to three NCAA Tournament appearances; Miami's Tim James (1996-99), who earned Co-Big East Player of the Year accolades in 1999 for the Hurricanes; Virginia's John Crotty (1988-91), who led the Cavaliers to three straight NCAA Tournament berths; and Virginia Tech's Glen Combs (1966-68), one of the best pure shooters in Hokie history who led Virginia Tech to their first post-season appearances in 1966 and 1967.
Gminski, Anderson and Chappell were all selected as members of the ACC's 50th Anniversary Team in 2003. Gminski, Anderson and Chappell were also named consensus All-Americas while James and Charles earned All-America honors during their careers.
Chappell (Portage, Pa.) is one of only 10 players in ACC history who have been named ACC player of the Year more than once. He currently ranks seventh in career scoring average, averaging 24.89 points per game for 87 contests. He also ranks fourth in the ACC in career rebounds per game, averaging 13.94. Named a first-team All-America in 1961, he earned consensus first-team All-America selection in 1962. One of the pre-eminent scorers in Conference history, he averaged 30.1 points a game in 1962 when he set the record for most points in an ACC game--50 against Virginia. He led Wake to two NCAA Tournament appearances including a berth in the 1962 Final Four where they lost in the semifinals but defeated UCLA for third place. One of only three players in ACC history who have been MVP of the ACC Tournament twice, as he led the Deacs to ACC titles in 1961 and 1962. He played in the ACC Championship Game in all three of his varsity seasons, averaging 27.3 points in championship play. Drafted on the first round of the 1962 NBA draft by Syracuse, he played 11 seasons with 10 different teams. He currently lives in Waterford, Wisconsin, just outside Milwaukee.
Nine of the Legends--Campbell (15 years), Gminski (14 years), Anderson (13), Chappell (11), Ward (11), Crotty (11), Curley (7), Charles (3) and James (3)--played in the National Basketball Association, while one, Combs, spent seven seasons playing professionally in the ABA.