Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel doesn’t match the normal mannequin of former soccer player-turned NFL head coach.
Whereas many coaches by no means had taking part in careers, McDaniel is notable in that he did have a taking part in profession. He simply used that to additional his future within the sport as a coach, not a participant. Contemplating his listed peak of 5-9 and weight that ranges from 170 to 180 kilos — relying on whom you ask — that may have been for the perfect.
That mentioned, the self-described soccer nerd confirmed even at a younger age an acuity for soccer that might in the future lead him to change into one of many brightest offensive minds in soccer. That continued throughout McDaniel’s collegiate profession, the place he was a four-year letterman in soccer for Yale. Even then, he leaned extra towards turning into a future coach versus gridiron star.
With that, The Sporting Information seems at McDaniel’s historical past as a soccer participant, and the way he used that to jumpstart a training profession that has resulted in him turning into coach of the Dolphins:
MORE: Mike McDaniel teaching timeline
Did Mike McDaniel play soccer?
McDaniel was a walk-on huge receiver at Yale from 2001 by means of 2004. Previous to his acceptance at Yale, he performed soccer and observe at Smoky Hill Excessive Faculty in Aurora, Colo.
McDaniel’s Yale soccer bio notes he was a “two-sport athlete who competed in soccer and observe” in highschool, including that he was first-team all-city and second-team all-league.” It provides that he ran the 100 – and 200-meter dashes in observe, the place he was named to the state’s first-team all-academic workforce.
McDaniel’s bio additionally notes he was “one of many strongest gamers on the workforce in his weight class.” The Athletic reviews he earned that standing by performing 39 consecutive pull-ups, the reward for which was a hat.
The Athletic additionally reviews that McDaniel’s acuity for the sport was as a coach, even when he was a walk-on. His roommate at Yale, Ryan Allen, started noticing teaching traits when McDaniel was a junior:
“He was like, ‘This isn’t going to work. Have a look at the defence,’” Allen advised The Athletic. “And he was all the time proper. And I used to be standing right here like, he is acquired an uncanny capacity to simply perceive the sport for somebody who’s 20 years outdated.
“And calling out what the coaches have been doing incorrectly. And these guys are of their 40s, proper? I began to assume, ‘He is acquired this soccer thoughts that I haven’t got, that I do not assume anybody else has.’ ”
Chandler Henley, one other receiver on Yale’s soccer workforce alongside McDaniel, echoed these sentiments:
“We would come again to Colorado for the summers, and he mainly took that chance to educate me,” Henley mentioned of McDaniel. “He was working by means of studying the sport in his personal thoughts and was utilizing me as a guinea pig. And as an alternative of being upset or disgruntled about his explicit position as a participant, he realized he might nonetheless assist by serving to others get higher.
“That is an ideal technique to image his first expertise in teaching. He wasn’t reciting what a coach had advised him. It was all his personal mind.”
MORE: Rating Mike McDaniel’s finest mic’d-up moments, from Justin Fields to trolling Tua
Mike McDaniel stats at Yale
Jack Siedlecki, who coached Yale from 1997 by means of 2008, had this to say about McDaniel when the latter approached him about strolling on to the workforce:
“I might guess that Mike was most likely about 150 kilos — and he did not actually run actually quick both,” Siedlecki advised The Athletic. “He was a type of guys that you just thought, ‘Eh, he isn’t going to be round right here actually lengthy.’”
McDaniel proved Siedlecki’s preliminary instinct improper, occurring to change into a four-year letterman at Yale, in accordance with a narrative issued by the college highlighting his hiring because the Dolphins’ soccer coach. That mentioned, the 2005 Yale graduate—he earned a level in historical past—didn’t rack up a ton of stats whereas a member of the Bulldogs’ soccer workforce.
In reality, he did not report any.
McDaniel performed on the junior varsity groups in 2001 and 2002 earlier than ultimately rising to a backup receiver on the varsity in 2003, the place he “noticed varsity motion in opposition to Towson and performed JV.” His participant bio doesn’t listing any statistics for both the 2003 or 2004 seasons, however does word that he misplaced 5 kilos between his junior and senior seasons (going from 180 kilos in 2003 to 175 kilos the next yr).
Shortly after graduating from Yale, he acquired his first NFL job doing knowledge entry with the Broncos, for whom he was a ball boy as a youngster and for whom he labored throughout summer time breaks at Yale. Ultimately, he would flip that chance and others right into a head-coaching place with the Dolphins.