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Pacers honor McDaniel

by: Matthew Sherman, 
Royce McDaniel addresses the crowd at Sunday’s alumni game after being honored in a pre-game ceremony.

Lakeridge High School did something for the first time in the school's history last Sunday. It retired a former player's number. Long-time Pacer coach Royce McDaniel who won state titles with the girls basketball and baseball team will now be a permanent fixture on the baseball field's centerfield fence where a banner will be displayed.

During Sunday's annual alumni baseball game, McDaniel was surprised when he and his wife were brought to home plate prior to the first pitch. There McDaniel was presented with a framed jersey and was shown the banner that will be placed on the Lakeridge field.

'I was shocked. I really didn't know what was going on. I spent half of my life at Lakeridge. It's hard to explain how much this means to me,' McDaniel said.

McDaniel is a member of the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame as one of the state's most accomplished high school athletes.

At Sweet Home High School, McDaniel defined the three-sport athlete. He went on to attend Lewis and Clark College, earning 12 varsity letters in football, basketball and baseball. He was selected to nine All-Northwest Conference teams while playing as the football's team's quarterback, the basketball team's point guard and the star outfielder for the baseball team.

McDaniel would go on to make an even greater contribution in teaching and coaching. He got his first job at Milwaukie High School and later moved to Tigard before finding a home at Lakeridge.

With the Pacers, McDaniel won the girls basketball state title in 1991 and was 134-68 in his career. He was the head baseball coach for 20 years, tallying a 346-210 record and won a state title with the team in 1974.

That team would go on to compete at nationals in American Legion ball and would finish second to Puerto Rico.

'He really touched everything here. He is the heart and soul of Pacer athletics,' said Reed Garrison who helped organize the honor and who is a long-time friend of McDaniel's.

McDaniel is entering his 47th year of coaching now as he recently assumed an assistant job with Sunset's baseball team.

'You never figure that you're going to be doing this for so long but I've been very lucky,' McDaniel said.

As luck would have it, the JV team's first game under McDaniel was against Lakeridge.

'It was definitely strange coming back and playing them,' McDaniel said.

McDaniel will always have a home with the Pacers as Garrison stated during the ceremony over the weekend.

He still teaches Drivers Education at the school and says that, in the newspaper, he will first look at Sunset's score and then immediately check to see how his Lakeridge Pacers fared.