Photo: AP

An Open Letter From Lefty...

When I received notice that I had been elected to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, I felt tremendous pride and gratitude. It is the capstone of my professional life and an extraordinary honor.

At the same time, although the selection is presented in personal terms, I know what my fellow Hall of Fame inductees know – that the honor is shared with every player, assistant coach, manager, trainer and athletic director with whom I had the honor to work. Without their dedication and sacrifice, I would never have been considered for the Hall of Fame.

I am very appreciative of all my former players, coaches, members of the media and fans who have spoken out on my behalf. Your support has meant the world to me.

Today Joyce and I live only a few miles from my first coaching jobs at Granby and Newport News High Schools. Although my college career gets the most attention, I first learned to coach at those institutions, and they continue to hold a special place in my heart. And while it may surprise some, I was a player at Duke University before I became a coach and will always consider myself a part of the Duke basketball family.

I was incredibly fortunate to be hired as the Head Coach at Davidson, Maryland, James Madison and Georgia State. Each situation was different and each challenge was unique, but I loved my time at these great institutions and I especially appreciated the way the students and fans supported our teams.

Basketball has been a major part of my life. From playing as a young boy, to coaching for 45 years, to watching my son and grandsons coach basketball today, I’ve never been far from the sport. I know how much the game has given me. I hope I have given back my share.

Through all the ups and downs that come with a career in sports, I always knew I had the unending love of my wife, Joyce, and my children and grandchildren. Joyce and I will celebrate 67 years of marriage this year and I always say she was my number one recruit.

To my friends and supporters, thank you for a lifetime of great memories. When I’m inducted this September, you will be with me.

With my deepest appreciation,