Donny Daniels
Donny  Daniels

Position:
Assistant Coach

Alma Mater:
Cal State Fullerton, '77

Season:
7th


Donny Daniels is in his eighth season as an assistant coach on the Gonzaga men's basketball staff after seven years on the UCLA staff. Daniels has coached at the collegiate level for more than 30 years, bringing unrivaled experience to head coach Mark Few's staff.

"His strength is he does everything well, and that's what we kind of demand at Gonzaga. You recruit, you coach, you develop and you scout," Few said.

Daniels has done all of that and more in his seven years in Spokane, helping the Zags to six West Coast Conference regular season titles and six WCC Tournament championships. GU has made the NCAA Tournament in each of Daniels' seven seasons on staff, including an appearance in the national championship game in the program's first-ever Final Four in 2017, and an Elite Eight in 2015.

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. His recruiting expertise helped UCLA to win back-to-back-to-back Pac-10 Conference titles from 2006-08 and make three straight trips to the Final Four in those same seasons. Additionally, the Bruins produced six first-round NBA Draft picks in Jordan Farmar (2006), Arron Afflalo (2007), Kevin Love (2008), Russell Westbrook (2008), Jrue Holiday (2009) and Darren Collison (2009) in Daniels' last six seasons as an assistant under Ben Howland. UCLA also had another four players drafted in the second round of the NBA Draft in Daniels' tenure including Trevor Ariza (2004), Dijon Thompson (2005), Ryan Hollins (2006) and Luc Richard Mbah a Moute (2008).

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. During Daniels' 11 seasons at Utah, the Utes reached the NCAA Tournament eight times in 11 seasons and were national runner-up in 1998. Daniels was also the chief recruiter of Andre Miller and Keith Van Horn to Salt Lake City. Daniels recruited Miller from his high school alma mater, Verbum Dei. Before his stint with the Los Angeles Clippers, Miller spent three years with the Cleveland Cavaliers and in 2002 led the NBA in assists (10.9 apg). Daniels also helped NBAers Michael Doleac (Minnesota) and Josh Grant (Golden State) while at Utah.

After winning only 10 games in his first two seasons at Fullerton (Daniels inherited a Titan program that was on NCAA probation), his 2003 Cal State Fullerton squad doubled their win total (10) and posted an 8-10 Big West record despite a rash of serious injuries that affected all five returning lettermen. Suiting up as few as seven or eight players for several mid-season games, Fullerton had its best conference record in 10 years and reached double figures in victories for the first time in four years. The Titans beat every Big West opponent in 2003 except tournament champion Utah State.

Daniels played his college ball on Cal State Fullerton's first two NCAA Division I teams in 1974-75 and 1975-76 under head coach Bobby Dye. His senior year, Daniels was selected the top defender on a team that won the school's only conference basketball championship when it earned a share of the 1976 Pacific Coast Athletic Association title. Prior to his two-year playing career at Cal State Fullerton, Daniels played for one season at Scottsdale Community College (1973) and for one year at Los Angeles Harbor College (1974).

Daniels graduated in 1977 with a degree in criminal justice and returned to Fullerton as a volunteer assistant for the 1978-79 season. He was an assistant in Dye's final season (1979-80) before becoming an assistant at his high school alma mater, Los Angeles' Verbum Dei. As a high school player at Verbum Dei, Daniels played for then-head coach George McQuarn, who he would later serve two separate assistant coach stints under.

Daniels returned to Cal State Fullerton as a part-time assistant coach under then-Titan head coach McQuarn for the 1981-82 through 1983-84 seasons before becoming head coach at Los Angeles Harbor College in Wilmington (another alma mater) for two years from 1985-86. His teams went 32-27 overall, including 20-11 in 1986. His third return to Fullerton was as a full-time assistant first under McQuarn and then successor John Sneed for the 1987-89 seasons. His full-time coaching tenures at Fullerton coincide with NIT appearances in 1983 and `87 and the recruitment and development of former Titan greats Leon Wood, Cedric Ceballos and Bruce Bowen. Ceballos went on to become a second-round NBA draft pick and play 11 seasons in the NBA.

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