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First-year coach has Warrenton ready for football

WARRENTON - David Daniel was always looking for a fight.

Born prematurely and battling polio and asthma early in his life, Daniel was toughened up by his oldest brother, John. "I fought everybody," Daniel said.

"Just because I was sick, just because I was little ... it didn't mean anything." He brought that toughness to his days at Butler and Newberry College, and continues to do so as head coach of Warren County. Daniel, 57, is in his first year as a head coach.

The laundry list of Daniel's previous stops include Hephzibah, Laney, Thomson, Washington County and Denmark-Olar. Daniel, who was Warren County's defensive coordinator, took over for Marleau Blount, who resigned before the season. This year's strong, 4-1 start doesn't come as a surprise to the team.

What did, however, was the offer Daniel had to accept. Hours before Warren County's scrimmage against Butler, Daniel was offered the job after Blount resigned after allowing players to practice before completing physicals. Blount, who said he still celebrates Screaming Devils wins, is finishing his final week at Warren County.

He said he is about to become Hancock Central's defensive coordinator. In becoming head coach, Daniel remembers the unexpected nature of it all the most. "I was about to have a heart attack, but somebody had to do it," Daniel said. "I didn't really get the option to think about it. I was in shock."

Daniel, who still handles defensive coordinator duties, has learned a lot about coaching from his former bosses during his long career. While coaching under Butch Jacobs at Thomson, Daniel learned about organization. When he was with Washington County's Rick Tomberlin and Laney's John Flen, Daniel saw the importance of connecting with the players.

Daniel said he enjoys working with players more than anything else about the job. He might be tough in practice, but Daniel has fun teaching his players, whether they are on the football team or girls basketball team, where he jokingly awards the ugliest outfit of the month honor. "The kids are a lot of fun," Daniel said.

"It's daily abuse with me, baby. I give out the ugly kid of the week award. 'You won again, man! You're on a roll.' "Born and raised on Wheeless Road, Daniel is the youngest child of father Moye, who was Richmond County's treasurer, and mother Evelyn, who is in her late 90s. Daniel, about a decade younger than middle brother Moye, Jr., was strengthened by eldest brother John, who was a member of Richmond Academy's 1956 state championship football team.

Often in trouble when he was younger - he one time burned himself fooling around with gasoline when a lit match and wind joined forces - Daniel easily remembers what it was like growing up. "I got in trouble constantly," said Daniel, a father of two. "That's why I'm good with kids. I'm not good with kids that are perfect. I was a hellion myself. I understand them."

Defensively, Deondre Battle and brothers Cortez and Torrez Wentz have led a stop unit that surrendered only 16 points in the first four games. But Warren County has its own strong rushing attack, as Jabari Wilson ran for 567 yards in the fi rst four games.

Web posted on Thursday, September 29, 2011

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