800 and counting

Jasper’s Daniels reaches another milestone

By JOHNATHAN BENTLEY, Eagle Sports Editor
Posted 10/20/19

Another year, another milestone win for volleyball coach Bobby Daniels.

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800 and counting

Jasper’s Daniels reaches another milestone

Posted

Another year, another milestone win for volleyball coach Bobby Daniels.

Since coming to Jasper High School, Daniels has earned wins No. 600, 700 —and most recently — 800.

Daniels, who has never had a losing season in his 16-year career, earned win No. 800 against Hazel Green, the No. 1 team in Class 6A earlier this month.

“When I got win No. 800, the first thing that came to my mind was that I’ve been very fortunate to coach volleyball for 16 seasons,” Daniels said. “I’ve been a part of some really good teams. I’ve been lucky enough to coach some really good volleyball players. I’ve got a lot of people to thank – my assistant coaches, players and the different administrations that I’ve worked for. The kids keep me young, refreshed and energized because of their desire to be good at what they do.”

Daniels wasn’t always a volleyball coach.

He started his coaching career at Berry High School as the head football and boys basketball coach.

“The year before I took the job, they didn’t win a game in football or basketball,” Daniels said. “I look back on it and that’s where I learned to coach. It was good for me. It was a great experience.”

Not surprisingly, Daniels turned Berry’s football team into a winner. In five years, he won 10 games three times and led the Wildcats to the playoffs all five years (1985-89). He is still the third winningest coach in program history.

Daniels’ volleyball coaching career started at Winston County High School in 2004.

“When my girls started playing volleyball they needed a volleyball coach. I volunteered to do it and I’ve been coaching ever since,” Daniels said.

And he’s been winning ever since. That first team won 42 games and advanced to the State Volleyball Tournament. That set the tone. Daniels has now been to the state tournament 12 times. His first state championship came last year as Jasper breezed through the 5A competition at the Birmingham Crossplex, beating St. James in the championship match.

The team became the first since 2012 to win 70 matches, closing the season at 70-5.

Daniels also had a Class 6A runner up finish at Jasper in 2017 and guided Winston County to runner up finishes in 2007 and 2010. His Arab High School team finished in the Final Four in 2014.

His career record is now 806-211 (79 percent winning percentage). In his five-plus years at Jasper, Daniels is 278-46 (85.8 percent).

The Vikings begin their quest for a second straight 5A state championship on Monday in the Area 11 Tournament at Jasper’s Carl Cannon Coliseum.

Daniels has liked what he’s seen lately from his top-ranked Lady Vikings.

“The past two weeks I’ve really liked where we’ve been and where we are, and hopefully where we are going,” Daniels said.

Jasper (54-9) had a long winning streak snapped in the final match of the regular-season a five-set loss to Mountain Brook, the No. 1 team in Class 7A, on Thursday.

While Jasper is the favorite to repeat at the Class 5A state champion, Daniels admits things didn’t always come easy this year.

“Midway through the season I was concerned. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. I didn’t know if it was lack of confidence – because we had played some good competition and lost some — or if we just hadn’t quite gelled as a team,” he said.

Jasper hit a lull in September, losing six matches in two weeks. They’ve gone 22-1 since.

“Lately we’ve played well against some really good teams, so I think we’re coming together at the right time,” Daniels said. “The end goal is what we are looking for anyway — and that’s to repeat as state champs.”