Conway School District’s Athletic Director Steve Daniels was named the 2018 State of Arkansas Athletic Director of the Year.

“Daniels also received the NIAAA 2018 State Award of Merit, an award presented annually by the individual state athletic director associations,” a news release from the district stated. ”This is the most prestigious award a state presents to an individual, for outstanding leadership and achievement in interscholastic athletic administration.

Daniels, who has served as the district’s athletic director the last eight years, is retiring in June after a 38-year career, including time as an assistant principal at Conway High School and a football coach for 25.

“Coach Daniels is a great man who truly loves our Wampus Cat Nation,” superintendent Greg Murry said in the release. “He has done exceptional work in making our athletic program the envy of others. We will definitely miss his strong leadership here in our district.”

Conway school’s Clint Ashcraft has left his position as the Wampus Cats head coach to take over as the next athletic director.

“Coach Daniels has been a great boss, a great mentor, and a great friend to our coaches,” Ashcraft said in the release. “I admire and respect the way he has handled his job as athletic director the past eight years. He is truly deserving of the honor of being the Athletic Director of the Year.”

Daniels attended his last school board meeting Tuesday where he was publicly acknowledged for his work through the years.

Board member Bill Clements said he’s been involved in athletics his whole life and wanted to thank Daniels for his leadership and for making the school better.

“You’ve done a great job Steve and I know I appreciate it, and the board does too,” Clements said. “Athletics is not the horse that pulls the school, it’s the other way around, but with good leadership, and we’ve had some great leadership, great athletic directors, we really appreciate what you’ve done and I encourage you to enjoy your time off away from us.”

Coach Janet Taylor said she wanted to personally thank Daniels and said it’s been her privilege to be his “sidekick” all these years.

“You’ve become a great friend and I just appreciate all you’ve done in athletics for our school district,” she said.

Daniels will be presented with both of his recent awards during a luncheon June 22.