SHARONVILLE, Ohio -- Mike Daniels looked around the room at Princeton High School to those gathered at his introductory news conference Wednesday afternoon and smiled.
He was home.
Daniels, the former Princeton High School and University of Cincinnati football standout, accepted the head football coaching position at the Greater Miami Conference program.
Daniels, a 2003 Princeton graduate, takes over for Pat McLaughlin, who left the Vikings after one season to take over at La Salle Feb. 10.
“I’ve got an opportunity at my alma mater,” Daniels said. “It holds a special place in my heart. I’m ecstatic. I’m fired up. I don’t know if there is a better situation for me.”
Daniels, 31, joins the Vikings after leaving his position as the wide receivers coach at Kennesaw State University.
Prior to Kennesaw State, Daniels spent three seasons (2011-13) at Statesboro High School in Georgia. He coached linebackers and running backs before being named the offensive coordinator. Statesboro had a three-year record of 28-6 and advanced to the state playoffs each season.
Daniels spoke with passion and enthusiasm about leading the Vikings next season.
“It’s a neat opportunity,” said Daniels. “My goal is to make this as good as it can be. I really feel like I want to get (Princeton) back to being respected nationally.”
Daniels met with the team earlier Wednesday. Daniels will meet with the current coaching staff and start to plan schemes for next season.
The players are off until next week then will resume the offseason lifting and conditioning program.
Princeton (6-4) narrowly missed the Division II playoffs in 2016. The Vikings will likely be Division II in 2017 though fall sports divisional breakdowns won’t be known until April. Princeton opens the season at West Clermont Aug. 25.
“He is an up-tempo and an upbeat coach,” Princeton Athletic Director Gary Croley said. “Energy just oozes out of him. Of course that is contagious. We’re just excited and coach brings excitement to us.”
In 2010, Daniels was offered the running backs coaching position and the academic liaison job at the University at Buffalo.
Prior to Buffalo, Daniels was a grad assistant/wide receivers coach at UC. That 2009 season the Bearcats went 12-0 in the regular season and appeared in the Sugar Bowl.
Daniels was a four-year letter-winner at UC (2003-07) where he was a triple threat as a wide receiver, running back and returner. He served as the team captain and earned the Jim Kelly Spirit Award in 2007 under head coach Brian Kelly.
A 2013 Princeton Athletic Hall of Fame inductee, Daniels was named the 2002 Ohio Division I state offensive player of the year. He holds and shares school records in most passing attempts (51), most yards gained passing (448), most touchdown passes thrown (5), most touchdowns scored (5), most regular season passing attempts (355), most regular season passes completed (191), most regular season yards passing (2,564), most regular season touchdown passes thrown (21), most regular season touchdowns (24) and most regular season total yards (3,951).
Daniels is married to Dr. Yelandra Daniels, a family physician, whose father is former Cincinnati Reds first baseman/outfielder Lee May.
He is a stepfather to Simon, a doctorate student at Northwestern University, Paul, an assistant manager for Enterprise, and Arielle, a chemical engineer doing research at the University of Cincinnati.
He is a father figure to his nephew Keith, who will graduate from high school this spring.