PRCC players, coaches remember Daniels

Published 5:00 am Thursday, October 5, 2000

POPLARVILLE – On Wednesday, the Pearl River Community Collegefamily said goodbye to head football coach and athletic directorKeith Daniels in a memorial service in M.R. White Coliseum.

He was buried in New Zion Baptist Church Cemetery in hishometown of Monticello.

“Coach Daniels made winners out of people,” said PRCC PresidentWilliam Lewis. “In the game of life, he was a true champion. We area better institution for having known him.”

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Daniels, 51, died Monday morning at Forrest General Hospital ofan apparent stroke. He was in his sixth season as head coach of theWildcats.

More then 600 people attended the service, including manycurrent and past football coaches from the University of SouthernMississippi, Ole Miss and Mississippi State, as well as former PRCCplayers who played under Daniels.

“Coach Daniels showed us how to be men,” said PRCC’s LarryThompson, a sophomore linebacker from Bassfield. “He taught all ofus what PRCC stood for. The P was for pride, the R was for respect,the C was class and the C was for character. Those are the thingshe wanted us to be like everyday.”

Steve Carmody, an attorney from Jackson and former player underDaniels at USM, echoed Thompson’s sentiments.

“My life has been forever changed by Coach Daniels … by thelessons he taught me on and off the field,” said Carmody. “As afriend Coach Daniels listened to my problems and offered meaningfulsolutions. Many of us benefited from his coaching. He was a greatcoach and a doting father.”

Larry Stanford, retired director of public relations at PRCC,said Daniels was a “a great coach, but a better man.

“He always had a close bond with his players. Coach Danielsalways played by the rules in winning and losing. Today, wecelebrate what Coach Daniels did with his life.”

Mark Anderson, an assistant coach at PRCC, said Daniels was morethan just a hard worker. “He inspired me to be a better man and abetter coach. He walked his talk.”

In 1975, Daniels entered the college ranks, coaching runningbacks at Rice University in Houston, Texas, then briefly returnedto the high school level in Mississippi in 1976 before he began hisfirst of three stints with the Ole Miss Rebels in 1977.

As an assistant running backs coach with the Rebs, Danielshelped guide Ole Miss to a 6-5 overall mark, including a victory inJackson over Notre Dame. The Rebels were the only team to defeatthe Irish that season. Notre Dame want on to win the nationalchampionship in 1977.

Over the next four years, Daniels served as offensivecoordinator at East Tennessee State in Johnson City, Tenn.,(1978-79), Memphis State in Memphis, Tenn. (1980), and theUniversity of North Texas in Denton, Texas (1981).

In 1982, former USM Coach Jim Carmody hired Daniels as offensivecoordinator.

During his first season, Daniels played an integral part in oneof USM’s greatest wins in history when the Golden Eagles upsetAlabama 38-29 in Tuscaloosa, marking coaching legend Paul (Bear)Bryant’s first on-campus loss in 23 years as coach of the CrimsonTide.

Daniels left USM and returned to Ole Miss in 1987 under headcoach Billy Brewer and spent two seasons as an offensive coach withthe Rebels before joining former Mississippi State Head Coach RockyFelker’s staff in Starkville in 1989 as offensive coordinator.

“Keith Daniels was a special person,” said Brewer. “He was avery detailed professional. He demanded a lot from his players. Wehave lost a terrific football coach and a fine person. I lost agood friend.”

Daniels is survived by his wife, Charolette, and a daughter,Sunny.

On Saturday night, the Wildcats return to football, hostingunbeaten Southwest Community College in a 7 o’clock game at DobieHolden Stadium.

Longtime Assistant Coach Mike Humphreys has been named interimcoach. Humphreys, 41, a graduate of the University of Florida, hasbeen an assistant coach at PRCC since 1989. He has served underthree coaches at PRCC: Mike Nelson, Willie Coats and Daniels.

“It’s our job as a coaching staff to try to keep our guysfocused and get them back on a regular routine,” said Humphreys.”We just want to prepare them the best we can right now under thecircumstances.”

The Wildcats are 2-3 at the midway point of the 2000 seasonfollowing last Saturday’s 37-21 loss archrival Jones JuniorCollege.