ELON, N.C. – Dr. James Earl Danieley, 92, president emeritus of Elon University and one of North Carolina’s strongest advocates for higher education, died November 29 at the Village at Brookwood in Burlington, N.C.
The Elon community will pay tribute to Danieley in services scheduled for Friday and Saturday, Dec. 2-3. Elon Athletics will pay tribute to Dr. Danieley at tonight’s men’s basketball game, which tips off at 7 p.m. inside Alumni Gym.
“The Athletics Department Family – our student-athletes, coaches, and staff, present and past – lost a great mentor, role model, fan, and friend in Dr. Danieley. He was impactful in Athletics in so many different ways throughout his life,” said Director of Athletics Dave Blank. “Dr. Danieley took a specific interest in our student-athletes as young people first, and the relationships he built with all of us will carry on in our separate lives making us all better people from knowing him. We will miss his enthusiastic support and his awesome smile at our games, but his legacy in Elon Athletics will carry on forever.”
Danieley graduated from Elon in 1946 and never left the school, joining the chemistry department as a professor that year. He went on to serve as the institution’s dean for three years (1953-1956), president for 16 years (1957-1973) and director of planned giving for five years (1987-1992) before returning to the classroom to teach. Named Elon’s president emeritus in 1992, Danieley has also been a member of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors (1983-1995) and a special assistant to the president of the University of North Carolina (1995-96).
Danieley was instrumental in Elon Athletics throughout his lifetime. He established the Elon Sports Hall of Fame in 1972 and was inducted as a member in 2008. During Danieley’s tenure as president, Elon began its intercollegiate women’s basketball and volleyball programs and restarted its varsity wrestling program. Also during this time, Elon hired “Red” Wilson as its football coach, Bill Miller as its men’s basketball coach and Kay Yow as its women’s basketball and volleyball coach. Wilson, who went on to become the Director of Athletics at both Elon and Duke University, remains Elon’s all-time winningest football coach while Miller remains the school’s all-time winningest men’s basketball coach. Yow still owns the best winning percentage among Elon’s all-time coaches in both volleyball and women’s basketball.
Danieley had a special relationship with generations of Elon student-athletes throughout his life, and was personally invested in their success in competition and in the classroom. He was ever present at Elon games, and his signature towel wave at the under-eight media timeout in the second half of Phoenix basketball games has been a great Elon tradition.
Read more about Danieley’s life via E-Net and share your stories on social media using the hashtag #DanieleyLegacy.