Michael Lee “Mike” McDaniel will be the 14th head coach in Miami Dolphins franchise history.
He follows Brian Flores, who held the position for three seasons and compiled a 24-25 record.
The Colorado native will only be one of only four coaches under 40 years old when the 2022 NFL season starts.
"I do think Mike McDaniel was the Dolphins guy all along.. the fact that they didn't rush to do something with Daboll meant that McDaniel was their guy" ~@RapSheet#PatMcAfeeShowLIVE #FinsUp pic.twitter.com/OPYw0R3JcX
— 🅿️at McAfee (@PatMcAfeeShow) February 7, 2022
But while he will be turning 39 next month, he’s not short of coaching acumen.
This Yale graduate has close to two decades of experience, and he enjoyed various levels of success at every stop.
Coaching In The United Football League
McDaniel served as running backs coach for the California Redwoods/Sacramento Mountain Lions franchise of the now-defunct United Football League from 2009 to 2010.
The late Dennis Green was the head coach, while Mike Kruczek was the offensive coordinator.
The team compiled a 6-8 record in two seasons while finishing third in both campaigns.
Former NFL fullback Tyler Clutts and actor John David Washington were McDaniel’s most prominent players.
Starting His NFL Journey At Home
Football has been McDaniel’s foremost passion ever since he was a kid.
He also played wide receiver for the Yale Bulldogs before earning a history degree.
— Heat Culture (@305Culture) January 27, 2022
He had an internship with the Broncos in 2005.
McDaniel made himself valuable by doing the tasks the other assistant wouldn’t, like data entry and creating overlays for head coach Mike Shanahan.
His efforts were invaluable in helping the Broncos compile a 13-3 record that season before losing to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC Championship Game.
His relationship with the Shanahans continued when Gary Kubiak hired him as an offensive assistant for the Houston Texans.
Mike’s son, Kyle, also became Kubiak’s wide receivers coach at Houston in 2006.
Enjoyed watching the film on Mike McDaniel pic.twitter.com/YDi60uOvlO
— Michele Steele (@MicheleSteele) February 6, 2022
Initially, the younger Shanahan and McDaniel worked under offensive coordinators Troy Calhoun and Mike Sherman.
But in 2008, Shanahan got promoted to the position.
The team also improved its performance from 6-10 in 2006 to consecutive 8-8 seasons in 2007 and 2008.
The Shanahan-McDaniel Connection Continues
After two seasons in the UFL, McDaniel returned to the NFL as an assistant to then-Washington Redskins offensive coordinator Shanahan.
In 2013, the Yale graduate became the team’s wide receivers coach.
A year later, he joined Shanahan’s Cleveland Browns staff.
Shanahan became the Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator in 2015 and hired McDaniel as an offensive assistant.
Under their guidance, Matt Ryan became league MVP, and the Falcons had their second Super Bowl appearance.
Another HC added: Washington coaching staff in 2013…
OC: Kyle Shanahan
QBs: Matt LaFleur
—> WRs: Mike McDaniel
TEs: Sean McVay pic.twitter.com/YjrylyvaDX
— Ari Meirov (@MySportsUpdate) February 6, 2022
McDaniel paid his dues when he became Shanahan’s offensive coordinator with the San Francisco 49ers this season.
It’s not surprising that the team’s run game flourished under his leadership because he served as the Niners’ run game coordinator from 2017 to 2020.
His impending stint as Dolphins’ head coach will be the first time that he won’t be coaching in the NFL with Shanahan.
But his rise to the top was bound to happen, given his impeccable recall and ingenious offensive schemes.