SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sacramento State Director of Athletics Mark Orr announced today that Kenny McDaniel will serve as the Director of Track & Field/Cross Country for the Hornets. McDaniel will officially start the position on Oct. 1.
"We are excited to have Kenny lead our track & field and cross country teams at Sacramento State," Orr said. "He's high energy and will relate well to our current student-athletes as well as recruits. He's had success at each of his stops and is very familiar with the Big Sky Conference and what it takes to contend for a conference championship."
One of the top sprints and hurdles coaches in the country, McDaniel's career has taken him from the states of Texas to Kansas, California and Arizona. He most recently served as the head coach at Ottawa University of Arizona. In his one year with the Spirit, McDaniel advanced five student-athletes to the NCCAA national championships, including Raiven Ellis who claimed the title in the women's triple jump.
"I am so grateful for this opportunity to be named the Director of Track & Field/Cross Country here at Sacramento State," McDaniel said. "I want to thank President Nelsen, Athletic Director Mark Orr, Associate Athletic Director Markus Jennings, and the entire search committee for allowing this moment to unfold. I'm prepared to uphold the foundation that has been laid by my predecessors within this program. I'm extremely excited to meet the entire team and the Sacramento Sports Commission to work on building a life-long partnership.
"I would also like to thank John Elders at Cal State Fullerton, Greg Kraft at Arizona State and Eric Heins at Northern Arizona for taking a chance on me to grow in the profession as well as Kevin Steel at Ottowa for giving me my first head coaching position."
McDaniel played a large role in Northern Arizona's success in the Big Sky. From 2011-17, he coached student-athletes to 15 first-place finishes at the conference indoor and outdoor championships, including seven in 2017. Some of his notable accomplishments include guiding James Fisher to six consecutive Big Sky titles in the 200 as well as wins from the men's indoor 4x400, women's indoor and outdoor 4x400 and men's 4x100 teams. Along with winning the Big Sky crown, the men's 4x100 team advanced to the NCAA Championships after running 40.00 at the NCAA West Preliminary. The performance marked just the second time in Big Sky history a 4x100 team moved on to the NCAA Championships.
Form 2006-11, McDaniel coached the women's sprints, hurdles and relays at Arizona State. He mentored 12 women to a combined 43 All-America honors, including Jacquelyn Johnson who won the pentathlon and heptathlon before competing at the 2008 Summer Olympics. McDaniel also coached Jasmine Chaney and Charonda Wiliams with the Sun Devils. Chaney earned a berth at the 2012 Olympic Trials in the 400-hurdles and later competed for Team USA at the IAAF World Championships. Williams set several school records and was a member of the US contingent at the IAFF World Championships in Berlin in the 100-hurdles.
McDaniel's coaching career began at his alma mater Pittsburgh State as a student assistant in 1999. He then found a home at San Francisco State from 2000-04 where he coached student-athletes to three school records and 10 all-CCAA awards. He also had two Gator sprinters qualify for the NCAA Div. II Championships. From 2004-06, McDaniel was the men's and women's sprints, hurdles and relays coach at Cal State Fullerton. His athletes set 14 school records and he coached three men, three women and one women's relay team to Big West titles.
A native of Longview, Texas, McDaniel graduated from Pittsburgh State in 1999 with a degree in general studies with an emphasis in kinesiology and nutrition. He earned all-Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association honors in the 55-hurdles (indoor) as well as the 110- and 400-hurdles (outdoor).
McDaniel earned his USATF Level II Sprints and Hurdles certification in the summer of 2006.
WHAT OTHER'S ARE SAYING…
Curtis Taylor, Associate Head Coach, University of Oregon
"I've known Kenny since the 1990s when he was at San Francisco State and he's done a great job wherever he's been. He's a great technician and an even better person. I'm 100 percent positive that he will do a great job at Sacramento State."
Eric Heins, Former Director of Track & Field/Cross Country, Northern Arizona University
"Sacramento State is getting an amazing coach and person in Kenny. He's very high energy and pushes not only the student-athletes but everyone around him to get better."
Ronnye Harrison, Assistant Coach (Sprints, Hurdles, Relays), University of Oklahoma
"I see the hiring of Kenny McDaniel as an incredible opportunity for the Sacramento State track and field program. Coach McDaniel has always been a seed sower of integrity and character. Couple that with his high standards of discipline and extremely knowledgeable compassion and you have the flagship model of leadership. He's an exceptional hire for Sac State and the Big Sky Conference."
Michael J. Ford, Associated Men's Head Coach, Baylor University
"I have known Kenny since he was coaching at Arizona State. He is an awesome hire for Sacramento State and their track and field program. He is will bring expertise to the track program, he is a good coach, but a better man. Great hire!"