Our coach, Chris Kokell (@RealCoachK), goes Behind The Whistle with the top coaches of the area. This week, Kokell sits down with legendary Dwyer football coach Jack Daniels. Daniels, a multiple state championship winning coach, enters his 23rd season as the head coach of the Panthers.
Chris Kokell: When was the first time you put on a helmet and pair of shoulder pads?
Jack Daniels: First time was my sophomore year. I played guard on the JV team.
CK: Did you play any other sports?
JD: Yes. I played baseball, wrestling and was a swimmer.
CK: Did you play college football?
JD: Walked on to the University of Florida in 1987 and played sparingly for four years. My last year at UF was Spurrier’s first year.
CK: What position did you play?
JD: Safety and corner.
CK: What was your favorite memory as a player?
JD: Winning the SEC at Kentucky in my senior year.
CK: When did you start coaching?
CK: When did you know you wanted to be a coach?
JD: Never thought I did until I go my first teaching job.
CK: What do you know now that you wish you knew in year one?
JD: So many things but mostly schemes.
CK: Proudest moment as a coach?
JD: First and second state championships. Also, coaching my brother.
CK: Best team you ever had?
CK: Best player you ever coached?
JD: Matt Elam and Jacoby Brissett
CK: All these games you have coach, what is one that has really stuck with you?
JD: Losing 77-14 to Venice in the 2000 state championship game. I think we are the reason for the running clock. Very painful.
CK: You’ve been doing it for a long time. How do you find the balance between coaching and family life?
JD: It’s hard to find a balance. Football takes up so much time and is year round. Luckily, I’ve got a GREAT wife.
CK: Have you ever thought about making the jump to the college game?
JD: Yes. I’ve had five or six chances but at the time I was married and had kids.
CK: Is there a coach at any level that you have looked at as a role model?
JD: Steve Spurrier, Bill Parcells and former Dwyer football coach Ben McCoy.
CK: Programs besides Dwyer that you have admired from a far?
JD: Tampa Plant. Miami Central. Cocoa, Wilkinson as a coach. Vero Beach, Lenny (Jankowski) is a great coach.
CK: Overall outlook on the 2018 season?
JD: Very Good!
Favorite Movie: Saving Private Ryan
Favorite Sports Team: Steelers, Pirates, Penguins and all NFL teams that have a Dwyer football player on them.
Favorite Food: Pizza
Three Diner Guests: Bill Parcells, Winston Churchill and Dwight Eisenhower.