|January 30, 1952 – August 2, 2014|
Friday, August 8, 2014
Saturday, August 9, 2014
First Baptist Church
Melvin Edward Daniels, Sr. was born January 30, 1952 in Rutherford County to Stella M and the late Grant E Daniels. He was baptized by the Late Rev. Hugh L. Trimble of Mt. Zion Primitive Baptist Church, where he served as Deacon. He later united with the Original Church of God under the leadership of Rev. Charles Williams, Jr. Melvin passed away on August 2, 2014 at his home.
Melvin or “Coach D” as he was affectionately known to many whose lives he touched, was educated entirely in the Rutherford County School System, having attended Bradley School and Bellwood School before graduating Central High School in 1970. A gifted and well-rounded athlete in baseball, track and, most notably, football, he was awarded a football scholarship to attend Middle Tennessee State University where, in addition to being an outstanding tailback, he became the first African-American quarterback to play in the Ohio Valley Conference. Melvin was also a member of the school’s track and field team before earning his B.S. M.E. and Ed. S. from the University. It was also at MTSU that, in 1973, he was initiated into Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc.’s Mu Zeta Chapter. He later became a lifetime member of the fraternity.
After graduation, Melvin went on to play for the Shreveport Steamers of the World Football League before serving as an educator for 37 years in the Rutherford and Wilson County School systems. During his storied career, he served as Principal at LaVergne High school — the first African-American in a Rutherford County high school to hold that position since integration in 1968. Melvin also served as Assistant Principal at Lebanon High School, Blackman High School and Stewart’s Creek Middle School. Melvin also served as an English teacher and coach at Roy Waldron Junior High and Oakland High Schools, as well as a physical education teacher at Holloway High School. It was while at Stewart’s Creek Middle that he retired in 2013. Melvin started his coaching career as a basketball coach at Roy Waldron Middle School. He then moved on to coach football and track at Oakland High School, where, in 1984, he was able to lead the boys track team to a state championship – the only Rutherford County men’s track program, before or since, to ever hold the title. Melvin also served as the offensive coordinator when the Oakland football team won the state championship in 1984.
Melvin was very popular among students, players, teachers and administrators. Known for his straight-forward, firm-but-fair approach to education and guidance, he will be remembered as a jovial mentor who took greater pride in the development of individuals than in game victories, as many as there might have been. This community truly has lost a gem and he will be greatly missed.
Melvin is survived by his wife, Lora White Daniels of Nashville; his devoted and beloved son, Melvin E. Daniels Jr. of Dallas, Tex.; one stepdaughter, Pamela Glenn of Nashville; his devoted mother, Stella M. Daniels, of Murfreesboro; loving brothers, William T. Daniel(Gwen) Henry (Dubie) Knox of Murfreesboro; four loving sisters: Mary E. Daniels, Ruth O. Daniels and Judy Daniels of Murfreesboro and Sheila Johnson of Nashville;; several nieces and nephews, one great-nephew; two great-nieces; two aunts: Addie L. Lyons and Lois Knox, both of Murfreesboro; one sister-in-law, Shirley Shelton of Lithonia, Ga.; four brothers-in-law: Paul Smith of Nashville, Terry Smith of Las Vegas, Nev., Lance Smith of Nashville and Adam Smith, Esq. of Atlanta, Ga.; several cousins and other relatives; as well as two devoted friends: Tommy Haynes of Frankfort, KY, and Harold Lusk of Rock Island, Tenn.