April 18, 2003
Donny Daniels, who has been the men's head basketball coach at CS Fullerton for the last three seasons, will join the UCLA men's basketball program as an assistant coach, new Bruin head mentor Ben Howland announced Friday.
"I'm elated that Donny Daniels has accepted the position to be an assistant coach for our UCLA basketball program," Howland said. "He has a distinguished and highly-impressive background. Donny is from southern California and played at local high school power Verbum Dei. He then played for and worked with George McQuarn at Cal State Fullerton. I have great respect for George as a coach and Donny learned a lot from him.
"Donny then was a long-time assistant at Utah under Rick Majerus and I regard Rick as one of the great teachers and coaches in all of basketball. Donny's experience as a head coach and running his own program will be invaluable to help us build our UCLA program. Donny Daniels has a plethora of talents - from recruiting, to coaching on the floor, to game preparation. In all aspects of dealing with young student-athletes and helping them grow, Donny has continually stressed his players' academic advancement and of course, helping them develop into great basketball players."
Daniels at CS Fullerton
Last season (2002-03) was Daniels' third year as the head coach at CS Fullerton, his alma mater. After winning just 10 games in his first two seasons (Daniels inherited a Titan program that was on NCAA probation), his CS Fullerton squad doubled their victories (10) last season, including an 8-10 Big West record, despite a rash of serious injuries that affected all five returning lettermen. Suiting up as few as seven or eight players for several midseason games, Fullerton had it's best conference record in 10 years and reached double figures in victories for the first time in four years. The Titans beat every Big West opponent except tournament champion Utah State.
On Apr. 20, 2000, Daniels was named head coach at CS Fullerton.
Daniels, 48, played on Fullerton's first two Division I teams in 1974-75 and 1975-76 under Coach Bobby Dye. In his senior year he was selected the top defender on a team that won the school's only conference basketball championship by earning a share of the 1976 Pacific Coast Athletic Association title.
He graduated in 1977 with a degree in criminal justice and returned as a volunteer assistant for the 1978-79 season. He was a paid assistant in Dye's final season (1979-80) before becoming an assistant at his high school alma mater, Verbum Dei of Los Angeles. Daniels returned to CSUF as a part-time assistant coach under George McQuarn for the 1981-82 through 1983-84 seasons before becoming head coach at Los Angeles Harbor College in Wilmington (another alma mater) for two years (32-27 record).
His third return to Fullerton came as a full-time assistant to first McQuarn and then successor John Sneed for the 1986-87 through 1988-89 seasons. His full-time coaching tenures at Fullerton coincide with NIT appearances in 1983 and '87 and the recruitment and/or development of former Titan greats Leon Wood, Cedric Ceballos and Bruce Bowen.
Daniels at Utah
During Daniels' tenure in Utah, the Utes reached the NCAA Tournament eight times in 11 seasons and were national runnersup in 1998. The parents of recent Utah star guard Andre Miller made a special trip to attend Daniels' Titan hiring press conference and he also was the chief recruiter to Salt Lake City of Keith Van Horn. Ironically, both young NBA stars were traded last summer -- Miller from Cleveland to the Los Angeles Clippers and Van Horn from New Jersey to Philadelphia.
Daniels at UCLA
"I've known Ben for a long time, " Daniels said, "going back to our days as assistant coaches when he was at UCSB and I was at Utah. As his friend, it's been great to watch Ben's rise through the coaching ranks, culminating with his head coaching position at UCLA.
"When this opportunity presented itself, I was eager, pleased and excited to accept it. I look forward to working with Coach Howland as a member of his coaching staff at UCLA."
Daniels was born on Aug. 3, 1954, in New Orleans, Louisiana. He has three children - Eric (18), Kalynn (16) and Sarah (12).