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Changing of the guard at Princeton: Exiting coach reflects on tenure as another preps to take reins

Posted at 6:00 AM, Mar 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-24 18:56:24-04

SHARONVILLE, Ohio — After four seasons as head coach at his alma mater, Mike Daniels left Princeton to become the director of on-campus recruiting at Army West Point.

“It was extremely tough, because you're talking about a place that is near and dear to my heart,” Daniels said. "At the same time, it's very exciting. I think I'm going to do a great job of representing Cincinnati, representing Princeton, while in New York.”

Daniels’ time at home proved seasonal, but he left his mark. The 2003 Princeton grad became the first Black head coach to lead a GMC team to the playoffs.

Princeton junior quarterback Mekhi Lynn says Daniels’ impact went beyond the field.

"I’m going to miss his energy, his enthusiasm,” Lynn said. "He helped me grow out of my old childish young ways and helped me become a young adult.”

While Daniels fell short of a state championship, he believes he laid a strong foundation.

“Most would say I left the program much better than I found it," Daniels said. "We were able to, in four years, four recruiting cycles, give 38 kids scholarships.”

As Daniels exits, Andre Parker enters. He left his alma mater Winton Woods to take over as Princeton's head football coach.

“I’m a guy who will work and do everything for the betterment of the program, school and community,” Parker said.

WCPO High School Insider Mike Dyer says Parker brings instant credibility to Princeton.

“You're talking about a high-quality coach coming into the Greater Miami Conference, and they won't miss a beat," Dyer said. "He's been at Winton Woods since 2010 and has done some amazing things. Six playoff appearances. I think they have a 40-8 record since the Division II state runner-up season of 2017."

Lynn knows about Parker from his time at Winton Woods as a freshman, before transferring to Princeton. He says he believes in Parker, but the expectations have been raised.

“Coming to Princeton, you have to do better," Lynn said.