Tim Daniels, who was part of 1978 UT recruiting class, high school coach, dies


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Tim Daniels, who was part of 1978 UT recruiting class, high school coach, dies

Tom Mattingly, For Knoxville News Sentinel Published 8:11 a.m. ET April 14, 2018 | Updated 11:43 a.m. ET April 14, 2018

Tim Daniels, a 1979 Tennessee football letterman and former coach at Red Bank High School, died Thursday. He was 58.

Daniels, who came to the Tennessee program in the 1978 recruiting class under coach Johnny Majors, played at the legendary Massillon High in Massillon, Ohio, under coach Mike Currence.

He became only the second former Massillon player to come to Tennessee, joining College Football Hall of Fame member Ed Molinski (1938-40).

“I think he was the tallest player I ever coached,” said Majors. “He was very coachable and a good team player with a good attitude. I don’t remember anything negative about him.”

He played at 6-foot-7, 253 pounds, according to 1979 game programs, and wore No. 77.

Daniels was part of a recruiting class that included linemen Lee North and Kenny Jones, running backs James Berry and Terry Daniels, wide receiver Anthony Hancock, linebacker Lemont Holt Jeffers, kicker John Warren, tight end Mike “Go” Cofer, and defensive back Mike Terry.

Tim Daniels was a coveted prospect who, according to the Knoxville Journal’s Russ Bebb in a 1994 book, “lettered one year and became a medical casualty, a victim of cancer, and had to give up football.”

That bit of bad news did not deter him in the least. He built a career in coaching that reflected his character and burning desire to succeed, seemingly against the odds. He took the lessons he learned in his early years at Massillon to a number of schools and cast a long shadow across the athletic landscape of East Tennessee. His was a profound influence, one not soon to be forgotten.

He had been an assistant at the Baylor School in Chattanooga for five years and prior to that had coached for 10 years at Red Bank, where he compiled a 77-40 overall record. He was also coach at Loudon for eight years, where he compiled a 70-25 record with seven playoff appearances, including a state semifinal.

“At Red Bank, he had the unenviable task of taking over for a local legend by following Tom Weathers, who had guided the Lions for 28 years and led the program to its only state championship just two years before Daniels took over,” wrote Stephen Hargis in the Times Free Press in Chattanooga.

“With a roster loaded with younger players, Daniels went a combined 3-17 the first two years before turning things around, leading the Lions to eight consecutive playoff appearances, four region titles, a district championship and an average of nine wins a season the next eight years.”

“This is a tough loss for not only the Baylor community but Red Bank as well,” Baylor athletic director Thad Lepcio told Hargis.

“He had a tremendous impact on so many young men."

Tom Mattingly is a freelance contributor.