Kenny McDaniel

Kenny McDaniel

  • Title
    Associate Head Coach - Sprints and Hurdles
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Coach McDaniel's Twitter account

Black History Month Q&A with NAU Associate Head Coach Kenny McDaniel

A "Cut" Above the Rest: Lumberjack 4x4 Team is Historically Good (VIDEO)

Lumberjack Associate Track & Field Head Coach Kenny McDaniel enters his sixth season at Northern Arizona University. McDaniel works with the men’s and women’s sprinters and hurdlers, bringing his energetic and passionate approach to the Lumberjack student-athletes. He joined the NAU program after five seasons as an assistant at Arizona State.

Northern Arizona (2011-present)

During his time with NAU, McDaniel has coached his sprinters and hurdlers to a combined 15 gold medals in the indoor and outdoor seasons, with seven alone coming in 2017. He guided James Fisher to his sixth consecutive Big Sky title in the men's 200m event while also coaching the men's 4x400m (indoor) and the women's 4x400m (indoor and outdoor) relay teams to gold medals at conference championships. The men's 4x100m also secured a first-place victory at outdoor conference championships, where they went onto qualify for nationals with a time of 40.00 at NCAA West Prelims. It marked only the second time in the conference's 52 year history a men's 4x1 team made it to NCAA Championships.  

One of the most impressive accomplishments during McDaniel's tenure came during the 2017 outdoor season. Under his guidance, the NAU women's 4x400m relay team of Jasmine Malone, Ashley Taylor, Maggie Carruth and Nicole Fotinos went on to break the school record for the third time in two years with a time of 3:39.52, which also was a Big Sky winning relay. Jasmine Malone, Clarissa Maxey, Ashley Taylor and Nicole Fotinos combined to break the old record at the Jim Click Shootout with a 3:43.49 time, while Malone, Taylor and Fotinos teamed up with Bria Edwards the next weekend to set an even better record with a time of 3:41.30.

Additionally, McDaniel has helped sprinter Vernon Jamison win both indoor conference hurdle titles, while cutting his times in both events. McDaniel has led Darriel Banks to an indoor conference title and career-best time in the 60m, while directing Shamelle Pless to a career- and school-record time in the 200m dash with a time of 23.77. The 4x400m relay squad has improved dramatically with McDaniel coaching as well, securing the gold medal at indoor conference and the bronze medal at outdoor conference with an excellent 3:09 mark during the spring of 2015. 

McDaniel has continued his career as a Lumberjack in impressive fashion. McDaniel coached sprinter Miles di Sabella to an outdoor conference title in the 200m, while guiding Banks to the first round of NCAA Championships with her times in the 100m and 200m. Isatu Fofanah and Pless have also significantly bettered their times in 100m and 200m during their time as Lumberjacks.

Arizona State (2006-2011)

In his five years with the Sun Devil program, McDaniel’s women’s sprint, hurdle and relay student-athletes improved under his direction while consistently challenging for conference and national titles. Overall, he coached 12 women to a combined 43 All-American honors, including two-time NCAA Champion Jacquelyn Johnson. She won the NCAA title in the pentathlon and heptathlon in 2008 before competing in the Beijing Olympics.

McDaniel also coached athletes like Jasmine Chaney and Charonda Williams while at ASU. Under McDaniel, Chaney recorded a personal best in the 400m indoor hurdles and a berth in the 2012 Olympic Trials. Chaney eventually earned a spot on Team USA for the IAAF World Championships in the 400m hurdles while breaking a 16 year-old school record in the process. She is now a professional athlete.

Williams had similar success, earning a spot on Team USA for the IAAF World Championships in Berlin after breaking numerous school records during the collegiate season before. With McDaniel, Williams lowered her time in the 100m from 11.61 to 11.14 and also dropped her 200m time from 23.62 to a windy 22.39 to reset the school records that had stood for over 13 years. She now runs professionally for Adidas. 

Cal State Fullerton, San Francisco State and Pittsburg State (1996-2006)

Prior to his arrival in Tempe, McDaniel spent three seasons coaching the men’s and women’s sprints, hurdles and relays at Cal State Fullerton and guided six individuals, three men and three women, and one women’s relay to Big West titles. His athletes also set 14 total school records.

McDaniel’s first coaching job came in 2000 when he was hired to coach the men’s and women’s sprints, hurdles and relays at San Francisco State. While with the Gators, his student-athletes accounted for three school records while a pair of sprinters qualified in the 100m and 200m dash at the NCAA Division II Championships. His student-athletes also garnered 10 total All-CCAA honors.

Before taking his position at SFSU, McDaniel served as a student assistant coach at his alma mater, Pittsburgh State University, in Pittsburgh, Kan. A 1999 graduate with a degree in general studies with an emphasis in kinesiology and nutrition, McDaniel ran for the Gorillas for two years. There, he earned All-MIAA accolades in the indoor 55m hurdles, the outdoor 110m high-hurdles and the outdoor 400m hurdles.

A native of Longview, Texas, and graduate of Longview High School, McDaniel attained his USATF Level II Sprints and Hurdles certification in the summer of 2006.

Athlete Improvements and Accomplishments under McDaniel

2016 Men's 4x100m Relay Team

  • First men's 4x1 relay team in NAU history to compete at nationals
  • Only the second men's 4x1 team in Big Sky history to compete at nationals

2016 Women's 4x400m Relay Team

  • Broke the previous school record, one that stood for 17 years 
  • Set the new record at the Jim Click Shootout (3:43.49)
  • Proceeded to top that time a week later at the Bryan Clay Invitational (3:41.30)

Vernon Jamison – NAU

  • 110mH – 14.25 to 13.85
  • 200m – 22.21 to 21.31
  • 60mH – 8.01 to 7.80
  • 60m – 7.13 to 6.82

James Fisher – NAU

  • 100m – 10.89 to 10.33
  • 200m – 21.80 to 20.82

Cameron Coleman – NAU

  • 200m – 22.40 to 21.69
  • 400m – 49.40 to 48.22

Miles Disabella – NAU

  • 100m – 10.76 to 10.46
  • 200m – 21.50 to 21.26

Darriel Banks – NAU

  • 100m – 11.88 to 11.63
  • 200m – 24.77 to 23.80
  • 60m –  7.49 to 7.39

Shamelle Pless – NAU

  • 60m – 7.70 to 7.44
  • 100m – 11.98 to 11.73
  • 200m – 24.73 to 23.86
  • 400m – 57.88 to 55.90

Ashley Taylor – NAU

  • World Jr Qualifier in 2014
  • 400mH (indoor) – 60.38 to 58.65

Nicole Fotinos – NAU

  • 200m – 25.92 to 24.79
  • 400m – 57.00 to 54.36

ShaKeia Pinnick -- ASU

  • 100mH -- 13.87 to 13.34
  • 400iH -- 58.30 to 57.34

Kayla Sanchez – ASU

  • 400m – 54.64 to 53.86

Jasmine Chaney – ASU

  • 100mH -- 13.74 to 13.26
  • 200m -- 24.70 to 23.16
  • 400m -- 56.00  to 52.23
  • 400m iH -- 57.77 to 55.22 (career-best)  IAAF World Champ Team

Charonda Williams – ASU

  • 100m – 11.61 to 11.14
  • 200m – 23.62 to 22.39

Dominique Maloy – ASU

  • 100m – 11.90 to 11.39
  • 200m – 24.98 to 23.28
  • 400m – 54.45 to 52.69