Norman Daniels came to Wesleyan as an instructor in physical education in 1934. By the time he retired as an adjunct professor following the spring baseball season in 1973, Norm had been head coach of five different sports—football, basketball, baseball, wrestling, and squash—over his 39 years at Wesleyan.
Norm’s coaching career began in Hillsdale, Mich., where he was a coach and teacher in the local secondary school following his graduation from the University of Michigan in 1932. He lettered nine times in a Wolverine uniform with informal All-America honors in football as a receiver and defensive back, all-Big Ten and All-America honors in basketball, and starting duties at second base in baseball. Beginning as head wrestling and assistant football coach at Wesleyan, Norm’s longest-standing assignment was with baseball, covering 33 seasons. A three-year stint as men’s basketball coach (1944–47) was overlapped by the introduction of head football coach to his resume in 1945. He handled the gridmen for 19 seasons and directed the squad to its team-record 25-game win streak from 1945 through 1948. That streak was part of a 28-game unbeaten string that started in 1942. He also had a brief stint as chairman of the department of physical education. Norm ranks third in longevity among all coaches who have served the Cardinal & Black. The top spot is held by Hugh McCurdy with 46 years of service.
With about 100 well-wishers in attendance, Wesleyan held a 100th-birthday reception for Norm in the bridge lobby of the Freeman Athletic Center on April 5, 2007. This celebration included the announcement that the area would be named the Coach Norm Daniels Lobby of the Freeman Athletic Center. After a proclamation by the Mayor of Middletown Sebastian Giuliano designating April 6, 2007, as Norm Daniels Day in Middletown, the lobby sign was unveiled.