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New Van Horn coach ready for return to SCA

By Bill Althaus
bill.althaus@examiner.net
First-year Van Horn girls basketball coach Eric Daniels goes over some pregame notes with team manager Aleisa Washington. Daniels returns for a game Friday to Summit Christian Academy, where he first coached alongside former Eagles boys coach Jake Kates. Daniels is eager to return to his former school.

When Van Horn first-year girls basketball coach Eric Daniels takes his Falcons to Summit Christian Academy Friday night, it will be a special homecoming.

He and former Summit Christian boys head coach Jake Kates were on the same staff. They moved together to William Chrisman, where Kates is now the Bears boys basketball coach.

“Eric is the best,” Kates said, “the best man, the best coach, the best friend. I am so proud of him. Van Horn got a great coach and an even better individual.”

Daniels was at Kates’ side until he was offered the head coaching position at Van Horn and, with Kates’ blessing, he accepted it.

“Oh my goodness, the memories of Summit Christian, coaching with Jake – that’s where the coaching seed was planted,” Daniels said. “Jake taught me so much about coaching, about being a man, about how to treat players – and I brought all of that to Van Horn. And I LOVE what I’m doing.”

And despite his team taking a 1-13 record to SCA, their new coach said this team has enjoyed the type of success that doesn’t show up in a scorebook.

“My gosh, this has been a blessing to work with these young ladies and we have enjoyed so much success, just in their growth as players and individuals,” Daniels said. “We are definitely a work in progress, but we are slowly becoming a fine work of art.

“I am so proud of them. We have a freshman, who has never played organized basketball named Emari Smith and she is averaging double figures in rebounds and close to double figures in scoring – and she has never played organized basketball.”

In the Falcons’ last game, Smith had 19 boards and 11 points.

“That’s a success story,” the coach said, smiling. “That’s what I’m talking about. God put me here at Van Horn with a plan, and I am so blessed to be here. I can’t wait to get up every day to see what happens.”