Former Wyoming Coach Joe McDaniel Dies

Nov. 11, 2011

SULPHUR, Okla. - Former Wyoming wrestling coach Joe McDaniel died Nov. 4 at age 94.

McDaniel was the wrestling coach at Wyoming from 1965-73 and had a career record of 71-59-4 over eight years as the Cowboys coach. He coached four of Wyoming's 27 All-Americans and his Wyoming team finished 11th in the nation at the NCAA Championships in 1967. Under his tutelage, his wrestlers won seven Western Athletic Conference individual conference titles.

McDaniel, who lettered at Oklahoma State from 1937-39, also helped lay the foundation for the success of the Oklahoma State wrestling program. His name is still found all over the OSU record books. McDaniel still ranks 14th on the all-time winning percentage list with his 28-2 career record (93.33 percent). He is also one of 15 athletes to win at least three national championships at the school, winning at 118 pounds in 1937 and 1938 and 121 pounds in 1939.

McDaniel started his OSU career by losing two of his first three bouts. He didn't lose again after that, rattling off 27 consecutive wins to finish out his career.

In addition to his individual titles, he also led Oklahoma State to three team championships in the years he lettered. As a 118-pound junior, he was voted outstanding wrestler of the 1938 tournament, an honor won a year earlier by his roommate, Stanley Henson. Three times he reigned as National AAU champion - twice as a collegian when the Cowboys also won team honors, and again in 1941, two years after graduation.

Despite a three-year hitch in the Air Corps and seven years as field representative for a major steel firm, McDaniel was never far from the sport of wrestling.

After a year of high school coaching and another at Maryland, he returned from the war to coach 11 years at Syracuse University, leading the Orange to a fourth-place national finish. In 1963, he moved to Wyoming, coaching two years in high school and eight at the University of Wyoming.

His career turned full circle in 1973, when he returned to his hometown of Sulphur, Okla., to serve as high school coach. In 30 years of coaching at all levels, his record was 257 victories against 105 defeats.

Following his accomplished wrestling career, McDaniel was honored as a Distinguished Member of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame.