Welcome to The Diamondback Sports Digest. Every week, we send you a rundown of the latest Maryland athletics news.

Maryland’s spring sports have continued to find success early in their respective seasons. Maryland baseball won its season-opening series under new head coach Matt Swope and both Terps lacrosse teams captured thrilling victories to remain undefeated.

In this newsletter, we’ll update you on the passing of a Maryland men’s basketball legend, a pair of Terps lacrosse overtime wins, introduce you to two new Terps coaches and much more.

Lefty Driesell dies at 92

Charles “Lefty” Driesell, Maryland Terrapin men’s basketball coach in 1975, points along the sideline during a game. (Photo from The Diamondback archives)

Legendary Maryland men’s basketball coach Lefty Driesell died Saturday at the age of 92.  While Maryland never became “the UCLA of the East” he proclaimed it could, Driesell lifted the program to national prominence.

Driesell led the Terps to the 1972 NIT championship, the 1984 ACC tournament title, a pair of ACC regular season championships and eight NCAA tournament appearances during his 17-year tenure. He held a 348-159 record as Maryland’s head coach. I wrote about Driesell’s life and legacy in College Park.

The Terps held a moment of silence for Driesell before Saturday’s loss to No. 14 Illinois, where his 1984 conference championship-winning team was honored at halftime. My fellow men’s basketball reporter covered how players and coaches responded to the loss of a legend.

Maryland baseball starts Matt Swope era with a series victory

Maryland baseball coach Matt Swope sits on the stands during practice at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium on Feb. 9, 2024. (Sam Cohen/The Diamondback)

Matt Swope has had countless opportunities to leave Maryland baseball for jobs elsewhere, but he never left the program that had shaped him — as a young player, an adult and now as the Terps’ head coach.

Swope is home. He’s never left, and he doesn’t plan to. Last week, sports editor Taylor Lyons profiled Swope and his winding journey to become Maryland’s new head coach.

The Terps overcame a three-run deficit in their season opener to help Swope earn a win in his head coaching debut, scoring in each of the final four innings to top Georgia Southern, 5-4. Baseball reporter Michael Howes has your game recap.

Maryland’s pitching played a large role in the victory, something Swope and the team knew would be important this season based on their past experiences in high-scoring NCAA tournament contests. The Terps brought in a variety of arms from the transfer portal to overhaul the unit, which has lofty ambitions for 2024. Howes has more in his Maryland baseball season preview.

Maryland lacrosse prevails over Syracuse with pair of overtime wins

Hannah Leubecker runs with the ball during Maryland women’s lacrosse’s 22-4 win against William & Mary on March 8, 2023 (Eric Robinson/The Diamondback)

Maryland men’s and women’s lacrosse both left Syracuse’s legendary JMA Wireless Dome with dramatic victories Saturday. 

For a moment, it appeared Maryland men’s lacrosse was about to notch its first loss of the season. 

No. 5 Syracuse had scored a decisive overtime goal, but it was chalked off — a decision that was upheld after a video review. Maryland went down the field and scored via George Stamos to secure an overtime victory for the Terps.

That win wasn’t Maryland’s first walk-off victory of the day in New York. Hannah Leubecker scored to secure a 9-8 overtime win over the No. 5 Orange and hand women’s lacrosse its first win over Syracuse since 2019, as well as its first top-5 victory since 2022. Women’s lacrosse reporter Matthew Neus has the game recap.

Best Bits

Quote of the week

During Lefty Driesell’s induction to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2018, he looked back on his “UCLA of the East” quote. He said: “I was kind of drunk or something when I said it. But we were pretty good and we wound up pretty good. We had a lot of great players.”

Games of the week

Maryland men’s basketball went to just one NCAA tournament before Driesell became head coach. He led the Terps to eight national tournament appearances and a pair of Elite Eights during his 17-year tenure at Maryland.