Donny Daniels retiring from Gonzaga
SPOKANE, Wash. — After being a vital part of Gonzaga’s success the last nine years, Zags’ assistant coach Donny Daniels is retiring from GU.
The Bulldogs have gone 277-49 since Daniels joined the staff, including 137-15 in West Coast Conference play. Daniels has helped the Zags to eight West Coast Conference regular season titles and seven WCC Tournament championships. GU has made the NCAA Tournament in each of Daniels’ nine seasons on staff, including an appearance in the national championship game in the program’s first-ever Final Four in 2017.
“I have had the best seat in the house the last 40 years,” Daniels said. “I’ve had a career that has been unimaginable. My nine years here at Gonzaga have been more memorable that I could have ever dreamed of. Working with Mark, Tommy and Brian has been an experience and a learning process that has been priceless. The people I have met here in Spokane, I will cherish forever.”
Daniels came to GU after seven years on the UCLA staff. Daniels has coached at the collegiate level since 1979 as a volunteer assistant at Cal State Fullerton, and brought unrivaled experience to head coach Mark Few’s staff.
Daniels has been five Final Fours with three different programs (Gonzaga in 2017, UCLA in 2006, 2007 and 2008, and Utah in 1998), with a national championship appearance with each program.
“He’s just had this amazing run of success. There’s obviously a correlation there,” Few recently told Jim Meehan from the Spokesman-Review. “It’s probably unrivaled the amount of success he’s had as an assistant.”
“The most amazing thing about Donny is the thousands of people you meet, literally thousands that tell you, ‘Hey, tell Donny hi for me,” Few continued. “Not once do you come across anybody that has anything bad to say about him. That’s an amazing tribute right there. That’s really what life should be about, having that type of impact on people.”
Daniels was recently tabbed as one of 12 selections to the A STEP UP Assistant Coaches Hall of Fame inaugural class of 2019. The class will be inducted into the A STEP UP Assistant Coaches Hall of Fame on May 7, in Atlanta, Ga.
One of the most respected coaches in the country, Rivals.com designated Daniels one of college basketball’s Top 25 recruiters in 2004 after he brought in the No. 4 ranked recruiting class while at UCLA. In 2005, Daniels’ recruiting class sported five players ranked among the Top 100 in North America. In 2008, his UCLA class was ranked No. 1 and in 2009, it was ranked No. 4.
Before his run on the UCLA staff, Daniels served as the head coach at Cal State Fullerton for three seasons from 2001-03 and was on head coach Rick Majerus’ staff at the University of Utah for 11 seasons from 1990-2000. Daniels was also the chief recruiter of Andre Miller and Keith Van Horn to Salt Lake City.