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New Dolphins HC McDaniel also excelled off the field, Smoky Hill counselor says

Mike McDaniel's former counselor hopes as Smoky Hill students follow his career, they are motivated by McDaniel's talent on and off the field.

AURORA, Colo. — Coloradans have another NFL team to cheer for next season. Smoky Hill High School graduate Mike McDaniel was recently named the Miami Dolphins head coach

McDaniel was born in Greeley and went to high school in Aurora.

"Even my son and some other people started texting me right away saying, 'Dad, this is a Smoky Hill guy,'" Bob Kennedy said. "I thought man, Mike McDaniel, Mike McDaniel, and I knew a Michael McDaniel here and knew that he was at some point in the football world."

Kennedy was a postgrad counselor at Smoky Hill when McDaniel was a student, 21 years ago. McDaniel played football but also excelled off the field, known to get high marks in class. 

"He was probably, from my recollection, more of a math-science kid. High levels of math, high levels of science and obviously a football player too, which probably bode well to go to Yale," Kennedy said. 

"[He] definitely wanted to go to Yale, and I do remember him saying he wanted to work at some level in the NFL, and you're thinking, 'here's a guy who is 5'9" maybe high school football player,' and you're thinking, 'OK I wonder how that's going to work out.' But again, follow that dream and make it happen," he said.

McDaniel did play football and graduate from Yale with a history degree. He went on to a coaching career in the NFL. 

Kennedy hopes as Smoky Hill students follow his career, they are motivated by McDaniel's talent on and off the field. 

"I hope they take away that it pays off," he said. "The hard work will pay off. I tell kids all the time 'just keep showing up,' and Mike McDaniel was one of those kids. He just kept showing up. He kept going to work every day and did what he had to do, and I think if our kids do that very same thing, they’ll be successful in life." 

Before becoming the head coach in Miami, McDaniel was the offensive coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers. 

McDaniel's former high school football coach told Kennedy that because of McDaniel's size, he really had to study defenses and schemes. He said he's not surprised such a hardworking and passionate person has made it as far as he has. 

RELATED: Smoky Hill grad Mike McDaniel hired as Dolphins head coach

RELATED: Broncos to interview former CU coach for job on Hackett's staff

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