Whenever the University of Utah men’s basketball team’s season ends this month, it will mark the end of Donny Daniels’ coaching career.
Daniels, the Utes’ director of player development each of the last two seasons, is set to retire, the program announced on Saturday before Utah beat Arizona State to close the regular season, 98-59.
Daniels, 66, has had a basketball life well-lived, which includes not one, but two tenures at Utah. His first go-around, 1989-2000, coincided with the great Rick Majerus-coached teams of the 1990s.
During that time, Utah won six WAC regular-season titles and three WAC Tournaments, while advancing to a pair of Sweet 16s, an Elite Eight in 1997 and the national championship game in 1998. He was famously the lead recruiter for both Keith Van Horn and Andre Miller.
“I’ve always enjoyed my time here, the people were outstanding,” Daniels said Saturday on a postgame Zoom call with reporters. “We won when we were here, so we had a great time. The Final Four, the championships, I’ve always had a special place in my heart for Salt Lake City, and for the people of Salt Lake City.”
Daniels later was the head coach at Cal State Fullerton (2000-03), was an assistant on three Final Four teams at UCLA from 2006-08, and served as an assistant under Mark Few at Gonzaga from 2010-19 before coming back to Utah. The Bulldogs went to the national title game in 2017 with Daniels on staff.