Soddy-Daisy boys’ basketball coach Reid Daniels has resigned his position, citing family reasons for a decision that came only hours after the Trojans’ 2016-17 season ended Wednesday night with a 64-54 loss against Ooltewah.
Soddy-Daisy finished 2-24, losing their final three games and 23 out of the last 24. The Trojans defeated Sale Creek twice during the season.
“Obviously, this was a decision my wife (Becky) and I have thought about for a long time,” Daniels said. “I think every coach has to reevaluate the situation every year about where they are in their life. I’ve coached 14 years, the last four as head coach here, and my kids are at the age they need to see more of me. My wife probably needs a little more help with the girls.”
Daniels is at peace with his decision and wouldn’t rule out a return to coaching at some point in the future. He’s also interested in working on a doctorate degree and national board certification with the idea of “going into administration” down the road.
“I don’t know about that for sure, but I would certainly like to have the ability and qualifications to do that,” Daniels said.
Soddy-Daisy athletic director Jared Hensley confirmed Daniels’ resignation.
“We appreciate everything coach Daniels has done for Soddy-Daisy basketball, not only as a player, long-time assistant and head coach,” Hensley said. “I know how much the program means to him and he means to us.
“It was Reid’s decision. It can be a tough profession when you don’t see your kids awake only for just a few days a week. I completely understand his logic and rationale behind his wanting to spend more time with his three girls and his wife.”
Daniels was named the Trojans’ coach in May 2013 to replace Kevin Templeton. Daniels was an all-city standout during his senior season.
In Daniels’ four years leading the program, the Trojans failed to post a winning record and struggled mightily through the campaign that concluded on Wednesday.
They managed only the Sale Creek wins and were winless in District 5-3A. They went into the tournament as the No. 7 seed among seven teams. Daniels’ composite record was 38-72.
The team’s record under Daniels was 38-72, according to the coacht.com website. The season-by-season breakdown was 12-14, 11-19, 13-15 and 2-24.
In 2014-15, the Trojans enjoyed their shining moment with the personable Daniels at the helm.
Soddy-Daisy went into the district tournament as the No. 7 seed, but upset McMinn County and Walker Valley to reach the semifinals and earn a spot in the Region 3-3A tourney.
Soddy-Daisy lost to No. 2 Cleveland 44-40 in the semifinals, dropped a 49-42 decision to Ooltewah in the third-place game and then traveled to White County where its postseason surge ended with an 85-69 loss. White County advanced to the Class 3A state quarterfinals and lost to Brentwood 72-57.
Daniels saw that span as the highlight of his four-year tenure.
“We came up four points short of playing Bradley Central in the championship game that year,” Daniels said. “We led that game by seven points, I think, in the fourth quarter and just couldn’t hold on. Last year we beat Cleveland and that was a big win for us.”
Daniels also admitted this season has worn on him and his players.
“It’s tough to have a hard season,” the 39-year-old Daniels said. “It’s tough on your health and it weighs on you a lot. But my wife and I have talked about something like this when things were going pretty well.
“The season was hard on my players too. Losing takes a toll on them just like it does me. It’s like going to work and not getting paid. I believe, however, that when some doors close, God opens other ones for you. I cherish my time at Soddy-Daisy as a (U.S. History) teach and coach and grateful for the opportunity I’ve been given by the people at Soddy-Daisy High School. This was a hard decision, but the right one for my family.”
Hensley said hard times can affect everyone connected to the athletic program.
“It has been a tough season for everybody,” said Hensley, who is also the school’s baseball coach. “We had a few injuries and depth issues. High school sports are cyclical and sometimes the cycle is not on your side. All along Reid was looking at the wear and tear a season can be on him and his family. He decided it was time to step away and have more time with his family.”
Hensley said he will move forward in the coming weeks and open the process to find coaches interested in becoming the new Trojans coach.
“We’ll talk to different people and try to bring in what we think will be the next great fit for Soddy-Daisy basketball,” Hensley said.
(Contact Larry Fleming at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @larryfleming44)