High School Highlights

McDaniel humbled by Hall of Fame selection

19 mcdanielWhen veteran athletic administrator Fred McDaniel became the latest person with Fayetteville ties to be named to the North Carolina High School Athletic Association Hall of Fame, he had difficulty figuring what the fuss was about.
“I don’t know why you’re doing this,’’ he said after learning he was a member of the 2020 class of inductees that will be honored in April. “I’m just doing my job. I was doing what I was supposed to.’’

In doing that job, McDaniel has become recognized in both Cumberland County and around the state of North Carolina as a hardworking professional who helped raise the profile of the athletic director’s job while also providing guidance and leadership to others in the position.

A Fayetteville native, McDaniel is a graduate of old Central High School and what is now the University of North Carolina at Pembroke, earning a degree in health and physical education.

He taught briefly at Red Springs High School before returning to Cumberland County to coach baseball, wrestling and football at Terry Sanford High School.

He advanced to the administrative level in 1988 when he became athletic director and assistant principal at Westover High School.

From there, he went to the same position at Cape Fear High School in 1994, then moved to the Cumberland County Schools central office as student activities director, were he remained until 1999 when he retired from full-time work.

McDaniel played a key role for the North Carolina Athletic Directors Association, which earned him both state and national recognition.

He received a citation award from the National Federation of State High School Associations in 2011 and was selected to the NCADA Hall of Fame in 2013. He’s also a member of the Fayetteville Sports Club Hall of Fame.

The NCHSAA honored him with its Dave Harris Award as the state’s athletic director of the year.

McDaniel gives credit for much of his success as an athletic administrator to three great athletic directors he worked with earlier in is career: Len Maness at Terry Sanford, John Daskal at Reid Ross and Terry Sanford and Bill Carver of E.E. Smith, also a former county student activities director.

“These people helped me tremulously along the way and made me what I was,’’ he said. “I want to give them credit too. Len Maness taught me more than I can imagine anybody could teach me about life and anything else.
“They did it for me. They made me who I am.’’

McDaniel said the most gratifying thing about his career were the memories of times former players came back to him and thanked him for the influence he had on their lives.

“You don’t see it right then,’’ he said. “Down the road you see you had an influence, hopefully a positive influence.’’

Another area where McDaniel has had a positive influence is teaching NCADA Leadership Training Institute courses for fellow athletic directors to help them better understand the nature of their job.

McDaniel remembered when he was first hired as an athletic director he was given a set of keys and pointed toward the football field.

“We’ve tried to make it easier for people so they know what to do better,’’ he said. McDaniel still teaches LTI courses for the NCADA.

“We want to make a better athletic program for the kids,’’ McDaniel said. “It’s all about the kids.’’

From L-R: NCHSAA Commissioner Que Tucker takes a picture  with Fred McDaniel and his Hall of Fame plaque.

Scholar athletes of the week: 10/16/19

20 Daryl SmithlingDaryl Smithling

Westover•Football•Senior

Smithling has a 3.7 grade point average. He is a member of the Superintendent’s Student Voices organization. He is president of the Westover Student 2 Student Program. He is also in the National Honor Society and the Academy of Schools.

Kadyn Staab
Westover•Soccer/bowling•Senior

Staab has a 3.75 grade point average. His activities include participating in Science Olympiad, National English Honor Society, robotics and Westover Academy of Engineering and being the girls’ soccer manager.
 
 
20 02 KadynPictured from top to bottom: Daryl Smithling, Kadyn Staab
 

Reis takes unusual path to calling football game

19 knightsWhen high school football officials prepare to call a game, traditionally the whole crew holds a pre-game meeting to go over any important details before the contest begins.

Sgt. 1st. Class Ryan Reis had to miss the meeting held with the rest of his crew prior to the recent Pine Forest at Westover contest, but he had a good excuse.

He arrived at the field via parachute, jumping in during a pregame exhibition by the famed United States Army’s Golden Knights parachute team.

Reis, who is a native of Tacoma, Washington, is in his third year with the Golden Knights and his second as a football official with the Southeastern Athletic Officials Association.

He got the idea to arrive at the Westover game via parachute when he first learned the Golden Knights were scheduled to jump at Westover’s homecoming game.

He was not originally assigned to the Westover game as an official, so he called Neil Buie, regional supervisor of football officials for the SAOA.

“I had refereed one of the Westover games earlier this year and knew they were in our scheduling district,’’ Reis said. He said he always thought if he ever had the opportunity, arriving via parachute at a game he was going to be officiating would be something special.

Aware that Buie sometimes has challenges scheduling officials to call games because of a current shortage in available crews, he called to see if there was any way it could be done.

“Obviously, my Army job comes first,’’ Reis said. “There’s no way around that.’’

Reis had cleared the idea with his Army superiors and Buie supported the suggestion 100%, so Reis was added to the officiating crew for the game.

Reis works any of three positions when he’s a football official, either the line judge, head linesman or back judge. For the Westover game, he was the head linesman.

The original plan for the Westover jump was for Westover principal Dr. Vernon Lowery to accompany the Golden Knights in a tandem jump.

They had done the same thing last season when Terry Sanford principal Tom Hatch jumped in to a Bulldog home game.

Unfortunately, the Golden Knights have specific criteria that must be met during a tandem jump, and conditions for Friday night prevented them from allowing Dr. Lowery to jump with the team.

But the Golden Knights themselves jumped with no problem Reis said.

Reis hoped the jump sent a message about both high school football officials and soldiers. “I understand it’s not for everybody,’’ he said. “Officiating football isn’t for everybody, and being in the Army isn’t for everybody.
“We do the things we do because we like them. Also it’s a great opportunity to show it’s an avenue of something that you can do.’’

Reis said people don’t have to be pigeonholed into doing things a certain way because of their background or certain pressures they are dealing with in life.

“There are multiple things you can do in your life that don’t necessarily have to be the standard operating way for everybody else,’’ he said.

Back row pictured from left to right: Football officials Jeremy Hall, Charles Davenport, Todd Hewlett, Greg Rooks.
Front row pictured from left to right: Golden Knights, SFC Mike Koch, SFC Ryan Reis, SSG Blake Gaynor, SGT Jason Bauder, SPC Skyler Romberg, SGT Adam Munoz.


Earl's weekly predictions 10/17/19

With four weeks left in the regular season let’s take a look at the standings in the Patriot Athletic Conference and Sandhills Athletic Conference and consider what’s in store as far as championships are concerned.
The Patriot title is likely to hinge on the outcome of a huge game on Nov. 1 when Terry Sanford visits South View.

The Tigers have the longest win streak in the county at six in a row, but they have another key game at Cape Fear on Oct. 25 before that meeting with Terry Sanford.

Regardless of how that Nov. 1 meeting between Terry Sanford and South View goes, both teams are in an excellent position to take the No. 1 state playoff berths for the 3-A and 4-A brackets because of the split conference rules that govern the Sandhills.

Cape Fear is going to need some help to get back in the title picture. They lost to Terry Sanford the fifth week of the season, but the Colts are still likely to finish in the upper half of the standings with little trouble.

In the Sandhills it looks like it’s all about Richmond Senior and Scotland for the championship. Jack Britt and Seventy-First are already two games back of the co-leaders and one back of Hoke and Pinecrest.
 
The record: 47-14
 
It took eight weeks but I finally managed a perfect record, 7-0. That pushed the season total to 47-14, 77 percent, inching closer to that desired 80 percent mark.

Let’s see if this week’s schedule will be as kind. 
 
• Cape Fear at Westover - Two teams headed in opposite directions. Cape Fear needs to keep peaking heading into next week’s game with South View.
Cape Fear 29, Westover 12.
 
• Terry Sanford at Douglas Byrd - Terry Sanford is unbeaten where it counts, in Patriot Athletic Conference play, and should stay that way after Friday night.
Terry Sanford 30, Douglas Byrd 8.
 
• E.E. Smith at South View - I think Smith’s three-game win streak will come to an end as South View seeks to earn its seventh straight victory.
South View 26, E.E. Smith 12.
 
• Overhills at Gray’s Creek - This is a matchup of two teams that have had their problems. The Bears have really hit a rut of difficulty with some injuries to key players. I’ll take Gray’s Creek because of home field advantage. 
Gray’s Creek 14, Overhills 13.
 
• Jack Britt at Purnell Swett - Britt needs to regroup quickly after the loss to Richmond Senior. I think they’ll do that Friday night.
Jack Britt 30, Purnell Swett 14.
 
• Seventy-First at Scotland - It’s back into the fire for Seventy-First, and I don’t think the result will be pleasant.
Scotland 24, Seventy-First 18.
 
Open date: Pine Forest.
 
Other games: Arendell Parrott Academy 29, Fayetteville Christian 14; Trinity Christian 20, Providence Day 18.
 

John Daskal Stadium finally adds sign

18 Stadium CeremonyIt took a few years, but family and friends of former Reid Ross High School football coach John Daskal were finally able to celebrate the installation of a permanent sign in his honor outside the football stadium bearing his name.

It was around 2002 that the stadium, at what is now Reid Ross Classical High School, was named in honor of Daskal, the only coach the school ever knew before it closed as a traditional high school in 1984.

When Daskal finally retired in 1991, he had 211 wins, at the time the most of any high school football coach in Cumberland County history.

He was inducted into the Fayetteville Sports Club Hall of Fame in 2006.

High school football has returned to John Daskal Stadium this season as it has become the temporary home of Terry Sanford High School, which ironically was the last school where Daskal was a head coach before he retired from the profession.

Daskal’s daughters, Kim Daskal Lee and Kristina Daskal Magyar, led the push to raise money to get a permanent sign installed.

They held a golf tournament at Gates Four Golf and Country Club in April and had numerous people reach out to make donations toward the project.

A family friend, Dr. Wally Mohammed, took the lead in the construction of the sign.

Mohammed operates a restaurant in Lillington, and he and Daskal became friends when Daskal and his wife Carol first visited the restaurant years ago.

Lee praised the efforts of men who coached and/or played for her father. Among them were Fred McDaniel, Bill Yeager, Billy Starks and Reggie Pinkney.

“Every planning meeting, they were there,’’ she said. “We made so many contacts with people we would not have been able to reach out to. They have gone above and beyond.’’

The ceremony for the sign was held at halftime of a recent Terry Sanford junior varsity football game at Reid Ross.

Lee estimated about 50 alumni of Reid Ross, including some former football players of Daskal, came out for the ceremony. Pinkney, Yeager and Starks were among those attending.

“He treated all the players like sons,’’ said Pinkney, principal at Ramsey Street High School in Fayetteville. “We played so much harder for him, and that was why we were
successful.’’

Yeager, former head coach at Terry Sanford and Gray’s Creek High Schools, works as an assistant coach at Terry Sanford.

“He was just a fine man,’’ Yeager said of Daskal. “He cared about his players while he coached them and after they got through and went on doing what they do in their lives.
“He was the real deal, the whole package.’’

Starks, principal at Pine Forest Middle School, said Daskal was bigger than life and the kind of coach you would run through a brick wall for.

“He was just a good person,’’ Starks said. “He loved us, cared about us and we would do anything for him. He was just a special human being.’’

Pictured: Retired Reid Ross High school football coach John Daskal is joined by men who played and/or coached with him during his career at the ceremony. Pictured from left to right: Current Terry Sanford coach Fred McDaniel, retired Cumberland County Schools student activities director Fred McDaniel, Daskal, current Ramsey Street High School principal Reggie Pinkney, current Terry Sanford assistant coach Bill Yeager and current Pine Forest Middle School principal Billy Starks.

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