Jack Daniels became the head track and cross country coach for both men and women at the State University of New York at Cortland in 1986. Under his guidance, Cortland runners have won eight NCAA Division III national championships, 30 individual national titles, and more than 130 All-America awards. Called the World's Best Coach by Runner's World magazine and designated Master Coach by USA Track & Field, Daniels has advised some of America's finest runners, including Jim Ryun, Alberto Salazar, Joan Benoit Samuelson, Ken Martin, Jerry Lawson, and Olympians Lisa Martin of Australia and Penny Werthner of Canada.
Daniels' first sport of interest was swimming, in which he competed at the University of Montana. He got involved in running while serving in the army in South Korea in 1956, when he began participating in triathlons involving swimming, pistol shooting, and running. His success in these events led him to compete in the modern pentathlon in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, where he won a silver medal, and the 1960 Rome Olympics, where he won a bronze in team competition.
In the years between Olympics, Daniels studied exercise science at the Royal Gymnastics Central Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, under Per-Olof Åstrand, one of the world's best sport scientists. Daniels went on to earn a doctoral degree in exercise physiology at the University of Wisconsin.
In addition to serving as a consultant to the U.S. Olympic track team and Sports Canada, Daniels was named NCAA Division III Women's Cross Country Coach of the (20th) Century and three-time Coach of the Year. Daniels lives in Cortland, New York.