Jeff Daniels is in his seventh year with the Razorbacks in 2017-18 and enters his second season as the Director of Student-Athlete Development. A veteran of the game, Daniels came to Arkansas after spending five years on head coach Mike Anderson’s staff at Missouri.
Daniels spent five years as the Director of Basketball Operations at Arkansas, before transitioning into the Director of Student-Athlete Development prior to the 2016-17 season. Daniels is charged with coordinating programs to enhance personal and career development of the student-athletes, while engaging the players in community service efforts.
The Arkansas coaching staff continued to bring Razorback basketball back to national relevance in 2016-17, leading the Razorbacks to a 26-10 record, a spot in the SEC Tournament Championship game and on the brink of knocking off the eventual National Champion North Carolina Tar Heels with the Sweet 16 on the line.
The Razorbacks posted the seventh most wins in program history last season, as the staff led Arkansas to 12 SEC wins for the fifth time in school history and captured six conference road victories, tying the 1994 championship team and the 2015 NCAA Tournament squad for the most in the SEC era. The Razorbacks ended the season 8-3 in their last 11 SEC road contests, the best stretch since the end of the 1993-94 and beginning of the 1994-95 seasons. Arkansas used its second best free throw percentage in school history (.761) to post a 4-0 record in games decided by one possession and a perfect 24-0 mark when leading with two minutes left in the contest.
The 2014-15 campaign saw Arkansas return to its glory days of the 1990s, as the Razorbacks returned to both the NCAA Tournament and SEC Tournament championship game for the first time since 2008. Highlighted by a victory over Southern Conference champ Wofford in the NCAA Tournament second round and a program record six SEC road wins, Arkansas produced the sixth-most wins in program history with a 27-9 record.
In 2013-14, the Razorbacks returned to the postseason for the first time since 2008, by earning a spot in the NIT. Arkansas finished fifth in the league standings at 10-8 while reaching the 20-win plateau (22-12) for the first time since the aforementioned 2007-08 campaign. Highlighting the 22-win season was the program’s first-ever season sweep of SEC rival Kentucky and a 5-1 mark against teams that advanced to the Final Four of the NCAA Tournament and NIT.
Daniels has been with Anderson for the past 12 years, one at Alabama-Birmingham, five at Missouri and the last six at Arkansas. Over his 12 years on Anderson’s staff, he has been a part of 10 winning campaigns, seven 20-win seasons and six NCAA Tournament appearances, highlighted by a 31-win season and run to the Elite Eight in 2009 at Missouri.
Daniels joined his longtime friend at the Division I level after a 10-year coaching career at Montevallo and Division II Valdosta State. His coaching career at his alma mater, Montevallo, began in 1995 when he was named the program’s fifth head coach. His teams were well known for their defensive prowess and he guided the Falcons to steady improvements throughout his tenure. He was named the Gulf South Conference Coach of the Year in 2002 before accepting a position as associate head coach at Valdosta State in 2003.
In two seasons with Valdosta State, the Blazers went 43-13, won a Gulf South Conference championship and ranked as high as No. 3 in the nation. Daniels defensive mindset was instilled in the Blazers arsenal and Valdosta State ranked No. 1 in the nation in field goal percentage defense each of his two years with the program.
Daniels’ coaching career began as a graduate assistant coach at Montevallo. He spent two years as a graduate assistant before accepting the full-time assistant position in 1986 on Rob Spivery’s staff, helping guide the Falcons to its most successful stint in the program’s history. Daniels first met Anderson during his junior college playing days as the two began their post-high school careers at Jefferson State Community College in 1979-80. The teammates reached the National Junior College Athletic Association’s national title game, losing to a Nolan Richardson coached Western Texas team.
Following his junior college days, Daniels began a two-year playing career at Montevallo. Daniels was awarded the Dean’s Trophy for scholastic achievement as a junior and was named a captain prior to his senior campaign.
A native of Birmingham, Ala., Daniels attended Huffman High School. He and his wife, Robbie, have two children, son Andrew (21) and daughter, Makenzie (17).