Norm Daniels (American football)
|Sport(s)||Football, baseball, basketball, wrestling, squash|
March 25, 1907|
|Died||May 11, 2009
|Coaching career (HC unless noted)|
|Head coaching record|
Norm Daniels (March 25, 1907 – May 11, 2009) was an American athlete and coach. He played basketball, football and baseball for the University of Michigan from 1928 to 1932. He served for 39 years as a professor of physical education and coach at Wesleyan University from 1934 to 1973, including 33 years as the school's head baseball coach, 19 years as the head football coach, nine years as the head wrestling coach, three years as the head basketball coach, and two years as the head squash coach. He led the Wesleyan football team to four consecutive undefeated seasons from 1945 to 1948.
Daniels was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1907. He attended the University of Michigan where he received nine varsity letters in football, basketball and baseball. He won All-Big Ten and All-America honors in basketball and was the leading scorer for the 1930-1931 and 1931-32 Michigan basketball teams with 152 and 148 points, respectively. He also held the second base position for the baseball team, and played at the right end and halfback positions for the football teams from 1929 to 1931. After graduating from Michigan in 1932, Daniels became a teacher and coach at a secondary school in Hillsdale, Michigan.
In 1934, one of Daniels' coaches from the University of Michigan, Jack Blott,was hired as the head football coach at Wesleyan University. Daniels joined Blott at Wesleyan in 1934 as a physical education instructor and as an assistant football coach responsible for the ends and backs. Daniels remained at Wesleyan for 39 years, holding positions as the head coach of the football, basketball, baseball, wrestling, and squash teams. He was the school's head baseball coach for 33 years (1941 to 1973), the head football coach for 19 years (1945 to 1963), the head wrestling coach for nine years, the head basketball coach for three years (1944 to 1947), and the head squash coach for two years (1948 to 1950). He was named a full professor at Wesleyan in 1948. In his 19 years as the head football coach, Daniels compiled a record of 76–61–10. He led the football team to a 25-game win streak, including four consecutive undefeated seasons from 1945 to 1948. After the 1948 season, Associated Press sports writer Lou Black wrote: "Want to know who really is the coach of the year? He's mild mannered Norm Daniels, the wizard of Wesleyan."
In 1959, Daniels traveled with the baseball team on preseason trip to the South. When Daniels was told that a black player, Lenny Moore, could not stay at a hotel in Georgia, Daniels took the team from the hotel. In Florida, an opposing school refused to play Wesleyan unless Moore was removed from the lineup; Daniels pulled his team from the field.
Later years and honors
Daniels remained active in his later years, serving on the Middletown City Council in the late 1960s and early 1970s. He also drove a van for Kuhn Employment Opportunities, an organization that assists people with disabilities to secure employment.
On April 5, 2007, Daniels celebrated his 100th birthday with a party in the lobby of Wesleyan's Freeman Athletic Center. In 2008, Daniels became one of the inaugural inductees into the Wesleyan University Athletics Hall of Fame.
In May 2009, Daniels died at age 102 at the Kimberly Hall nursing home in Windsor, Connecticut. He was survived by a daughter, Diana Mahoney, a son, David, 10 grandchildren and 18 great grandchildren. A memorial service was held for Daniels at the South Congregational Church in Middletown, Connecticut, followed by a reception in the Coach Norm Daniels Lobby in the Freeman Athletic Center at Wesleyan.
Head coaching record
|Wesleyan Cardinals (Little Three) (1945–1963)|
|National championship Conference title Conference division title|
- "Norm Daniels profile". Wesleyan University Athletics Hall of Fame. Retrieved 2010-06-11.
- "Jack Blott Has a Veteran Squad". The Norwalk Hour. 1934-09-20.
- "LONG-TIME WESLEYAN COACH AND ATHLETICS HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE NORM DANIELS PASSES AWAY AT AGE 102". Wesleyan University. 2009-05-11.
- Roger Dove (1948-06-13). "Norm Daniels Now Full Professor; Grid Opponents Can Start Worrying". The Hartford Courant. p. C3.
- "ALL-TIME COACHING RECORDS". Wesleyan University. Retrieved 2010-06-11.[dead link]
- "127 SEASONS OF WESLEYAN FOOTBALL". Wesleyan University. Retrieved 2010-06-12.[dead link]
- "Norm Daniels of Wesleyan Hailed as Coach of Year". The Day (AP wire story). 1948-11-22.
- Ted Smits (1949-02-11). "Norm Daniels, Wesleyan Grid Coach, Doesn't Hanker for a Big Time Job". The New London, Conn., Evening Day.
- Paul Doyle (2009-05-12). "Longtime Wesleyan Coach Norm Daniels Dies At 102: Norm Daniels: 1907-2009". McClatchy-Tribune Business News.
- "Norm Daniels". Hartford Courant. 2007-03-25.
- "Norm Daniels, 102, longtime coach at Wesleyan". Boston Globe. 2009-05-13. p. B-12.