Hoke County’s boy’s basketball team got a win over Jack Britt, 58-55, in its opening game of the season. That marked yet another win for one of the county’s best players and a barrier-breaking coach.
Sakellie Daniels made her debut as the boy’s coach, becoming one of the first women to coach a boy’s team at the 4A or 4AA level in the state.
According to Que Tucker at the NCHSAA, Sheila Bolles of Hoggard High was the first. Records are incomplete, but Tucker said it was likely that Daniels was the second or third woman to coach a 4A/AA boys team. (There have been others at 3A and below).
Daniels was one of the top women’s players in Hoke County history. After her graduation in 2002, she played four years for the Charlotte 49ers, winning team MVP honors three times. She then played professionally eight years in Germany, Switzerland, Lithuania, Finland and Romania.
While in Switzerland in 2010, Daniels earned first team all-league and defensive player of the year recognition. She was named first team all-league in Lithuania in 2012 and 2014 and led the Baltic League in assists in 2012.
Following her playing career, Daniels returned home to coach the Hoke County girls team for two years. She led the team to the state playoffs both of her seasons there, ending an eight-year drought.
Daniels was hired away by an ACC team, serving as Miami’s coordinator of program & player development for two years. She went on to work as an assistant coach at Southeast Missouri State for two seasons before returning to Hoke.
“It just happened I landed back here,” she said. “It was a little bit unnatural. I figured while I was here, I should take advantage of the opportunity to give back to the community.”
So, Daniels served as assistant on the boy’s team for two years. This past offseason, she got promoted to the head job.
“It’s going to be exciting,” she said of the prospect of coaching the boys at her alma mater. “Probably a little bit nerve wracking, but by the time the ball goes up, I’ll be ready.”