Princeton names former star next head football coach – Cincinnati.com

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Mike Daniels, who starred at Princeton, was introduced on Wednesday, March 22 as the new head football coach
Videolicious/Adam Baum

SHARONVILLE – Cincinnati high school football fans with a halfway decent memory are sure to remember the name Mike Daniels.

That’s a big reason why Princeton High School, where Daniels graduated in 2003, introduced him as its next varsity head football coach at a press conference Wednesday.

Daniels starred at quarterback for the Vikings from 2001-2002, and he put on a show that left other area coaches in awe. In ’02, Daniels was named Enquirer player of the year after leading the area in passing (2,569 yards, 19 touchdowns) and ranked second in Division I rushers (1,387 yards, 24 touchdowns). He was named first-team all-state his senior year by the Associated Press.

Daniels played at the University of Cincinnati from 2003-2007 as a running back, slot receiver and return specialist before he served as a graduate assistant in 2009, after one year working in UC’s alumni department. After that, he followed Jeff Quinn to the University of Buffalo, then three seasons as a position coach/offensive coordinator at Statesboro High School in Georgia, and coached the last three seasons at Kennesaw State University as wide receivers coach.

“It was normal,” said an excited Daniels, who will be a head coach for the first time. “Obviously with it being my hometown, it being special to me, it was emotional. People don’t understand, I’ve probably had 200 family members graduate from this school. I still have 10 siblings and I’ve got all type of family still in the building now.”

Daniels, the Vikings’ third coach in the last three seasons, replaces Pat McLaughlin, who left after one season for the La Salle job.

“What a great time to be a Viking,” said Daniels, a 2013 Princeton Hall of Fame inductee, who met his new team shortly before his official introduction. “It was a room that was very attentive, a room that was excited about having a leader, especially one of their own. They’re ready to go.

“I thought the kids were coached well, good staff, good plan (last season). It wasn’t like I’m coming into a broken situation. There’s a foundation that was laid pretty doggone good. We’re not starting from scratch, we’re just taking things to a new level.”

During his introductory press conference, Daniels told those in attendance that he was back at Princeton to stay, declaring, “This is my dream job.”

Daniels, the 2002 Ohio Division I offensive player of the year, said, “Well, as an assistant coach, you always have your views and thoughts about what you would do if you got a chance to lead a program. Now I’m here, so all the ideas and thoughts I had about changing lives and running a program, now I can implement them.

“From a football standpoint, I’m my own boss. That’s a neat thing. Heck, I’ve got the opportunity at my alma mater, a place that holds a special place in my heart. So, I’m ecstatic, I’m fired up. I don’t know if there’s a better situation for me just because of everything we just talked about. I’m at home.”

Back in 2002, Enquirer reporter Tom Groeschen spoke with several area coaches about Daniels.

“In 27 years of coaching, I’ve never seen anything like him. He’s a phenom,” then Sycamore coach Tom Adams told Groeschen, after Daniels had 480 total offensive yards in a 44-32 Princeton win.

Former Colerain coach Kerry Coombs sweated out a 35-34 win over Princeton, in which Daniels threw five touchdown passes – in the second half – to rally the Vikings from a 21-0 deficit.

“It’s tough playing the best player in the world,” Coombs told Groeschen, with only slight exaggeration.

According to Princeton’s athletic department, Daniels still holds school records in the following:

  • Passing yards in a game (448)
  • Passing attempts in a game (51)
  • Touchdown passes in a game (5)
  • Touchdowns scored in a game (5)
  • Single-season passing attempts (355)
  • Single-season passes completed (191)
  • Single-season total passing yards (2,564)
  • Single-season touchdown passes thrown (21)
  • Single-season total touchdowns scored (24)
  • Single-season total yards gained (3,951)

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