Mike McDaniel, the New Miami Dolphins Head Coach

Before becoming the head coach of the Miami Dolphins last winter, Mike McDaniel had spent 15 seasons as a coaching assistant with various NFL teams such as Denver Broncos, Houston Texans, Washington Redskins, Cleveland Browns and Atlanta Falcons.

Mike McDaniel parents spent four years coaching under Kyle Shanahan in San Francisco, and his mentor’s discipline had an immense influence on every stop on McDaniel’s NFL offensive coaching journey. Now in Miami, McDaniel is surrounded by those who understand the value of sticking together no matter the challenges.


Mike McDaniel is a National Football League (NFL) coach who was raised as the only son of a single mother. He attended Smoky Hill High School in Aurora, Colorado before attending Yale University to earn his history degree.

Mike’s father died in a car accident when he was four, so he never got to know him. With little money growing up, Mike took out a large loan for school expenses.

Donna was a single mother working as a credit consultant at Monfort Beef in Greeley and later delivered commodities, selling meat. Her goal was to keep her son occupied so he would develop into an understanding and loving adult.

Mike had made a list of colleges he wanted to attend when he was still in his teens. Knowing that going out of state would be costly, he ensured he chose only the top schools. Furthermore, Mike was an exemplary student-athlete with great discipline and love for football.


Mike McDaniel was born in Colorado on March 6, 1983 as the only son of his single mother Donna McDaniel. He attended Smoky Hill High School before earning a history degree from Yale University.

McDaniel began his NFL journey as a Denver Broncos intern in 2005 and has since gone on to coach for many different teams throughout the years.

He served as an assistant coach for the Houston Texans, Washington Redskins, Cleveland Browns and Atlanta Falcons while also serving as run-game coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers. In 2021 he also joined Miami as an offensive assistant.

As a child, Mike McDaniel lived with his mother Donna on their farm in eastern Colorado. As the sole parent of their family, Donna often struggled to make ends meet but ensured her only son got the best of everything through hard work and sacrifice.


Bob Kennedy, a former post-graduate counselor at Smoky Hill High School in Aurora, knew McDaniel had talent both on and off the field. As students follow his career, Kennedy hopes they are inspired by McDaniel’s success both on and off the field.

He began his NFL career working data entry for the Denver Broncos. This led to an internship on Mike Shanahan’s staff in 2005, where he learned the intricacies of offensive play calling and helped guide Houston Texans players to Super Bowl victory.

He then joined Shanahan’s coaching staffs in Washington and Atlanta before taking over the running game at San Francisco as a coordinator this past season. Now as Head Coach in Miami, he has an opportunity to apply his experiences from those years to his Dolphins team.


Mike McDaniel has 13 years of experience in the NFL, serving as assistant coach to Gary Kubiak, Kyle Shanahan, Matt LaFleur and Sean McVay. Currently he serves as Offensive Run Game Coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers.

McDaniel has been a dedicated disciple of Shanahan’s offensive system throughout his NFL career and has seen great success running the football. Additionally, as a running backs coach in the UFL, he has helped teams achieve success there as well.

In his first season as Miami Dolphins head coach, he guided his team to an impressive 9-8 record that earned them their first playoff berth in six years. They faced off against the Bills in a Super Wild Card matchup and came out on top 34-31.

Before becoming an NFL coach, Mike McDaniel was a Yale graduate with a degree in history. His parents are mixed race: his mother white and father black. Together they have one daughter and reside in Denver, Colorado.

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