Sitterle, Smith highlight second Daniel Athletic Hall of Fame class

By Eric Sprott,  Courtesy The Journal

CENTRAL — Nearly a decade has passed since he last roamed the sideline for Daniel High School, but Allen Sitterle’s name still quickly elicits memories of four State championships on the gridiron for the Lions.

Those crowns, which came during the 1991, 1992, 1995 and 1998 seasons, were the highlights of Sitterle’s tenure at the school, which ran from 1989-2005. And though his Daniel days may now be long behind him, Sitterle will soon make his way back to Central for one more Friday night under the lights.

More specifically, he’ll be back helping headline the second class of the Daniel High School Athletic Hall of Fame, which selection committee chairman Russ Hebert unveiled last week.

The class also includes Johnny Campbell, Andy Demori, Hal Garrett and Terry Smith, all of whom were selected from more than 30 nominations on the heels of last year’s inaugural 10-member class.

They’ll be honored during the Lions’ game against Westside on Sept. 12 at Singleton Field, with Garrett and Smith being honored posthumously.

“We are thrilled to present the second class of names that will be inducted into the Hall of Fame,” Hebert said. “This group of individuals could just have easily been in the inaugural class. Each one of them made significant contributions to Daniel High School.

“We are privileged at Daniel to have had the quality of athletes, coaches and volunteers over the last 50-plus years, and this list of new inductees just reiterates that.”

Sitterle, who was 168-40 across his 17 seasons with the Lions, led Daniel to nine region championships and five Upper State championships. He was also named the South Carolina Coach of the Year five times.

Sitterle, who was also Daniel’s longtime athletic director, played collegiately at N.C. State and was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1974.

“His accomplishments on the field speak for themselves,” said Daniel athletic director Tommy Plumblee, who was an assistant coach under Sitterle. “He led the team to multiple State championships, and he’s well respected in the coaching world.”

Sitterle is hardly the only standout in the class, as Smith is remembered as one of the best athletes to ever pass through Daniel’s halls.

An All-State receiver, Smith was a 1989 Daniel graduate who was named the state’s player of the year by USA Today as a senior. He went on to Clemson, where he left as the school’s all-time leader in career receptions (162) and receiving yards (2,681).

Those records have since been broken by multiple receivers, including DeAndre Hopkins, Smith’s nephew, who played at Daniel and Clemson and is going into his second season with the Houston Texans.

Campbell, a 1967 Daniel graduate, was an All-State and All-American selection at running back for the Lions and was a captain on the school’s first State championship team in 1966.

He was a co-captain in both the Shrine Bowl and the North-South All-Star Game before going on to become a three-year letterman at Georgia.

Demori, known as the “Father of Daniel soccer,” taught and coached at Daniel from 1977-97 and led the Lions to a 246-88-15 record to make him the fifth-winningest coach in state history. He was also a standout on the pitch for Clemson.

He coached Daniel to State titles in 1979, 1981 and 1996, while he also led the boys’ tennis team to a State crown in 1981 and the girls’ team to titles in 1979 and 1980.

Garrett, meanwhile, volunteered many years of service as the longtime PA announcer at Daniel. He was the only announcer in the history of the original Singleton Field, and he retired following the stadium’s final season of use in 2009 before passing away in 2013.

“Daniel has had a lot of quality athletes, coaches and volunteers, and it’s hard to select just a few to be elected each year,” Plumblee said. “Just like last year, this was another outstanding class.

“You have a mixture of individuals who’ve contributed coaching, volunteering and on the field, and their accomplishments are second to none.”