Steve Hardin isn't one to shy away from a challenge. After he was named head men's basketball coach at Lees McRae College, Hardin went out and pull in a superb recruiting class last summer. Nows, the

Bobcats only won seven games last year, but keep in mind, they also had nine true freshman on the roster.


And Hardin is back at it again this year. Only this time, Hardin has stepped up his coaching staff with the addition of Daniel Waln, a Fleetwood, N.C., native, who exhibited an aggressive, winning attitude as a player at Ashe County High playing for a demanding head coach in Marc Payne.


And Waln, who will be an assistant on Hardin's staff this season, has brings that assertiveness to the Bobcats. He's been the head junior varsity coach at Ashe County the last three years, and he's led them to three Mountain Valley 1A-2A Conference championships. Before that Waln was the head coach for four years with the 15-and-under AAU AShe County Lightning.


Waln has spent time coaching the East Coast Fusion 17U squad, based out of Richmond, Va., that competed in some of the nation’s most prestigious prep basketball tournaments. He will be a recruiting coordinator for the Bobcats, and will also play a key role in scouting, coaching point guards, and the day-to-day operations of the basketball program.


"Daniel is a excellent addition to our staff, vaving the opportunity to play and coach for Coach Marc Payne at Ashe County," Hardin said, "Daniel is seasoned in the day-to-day coaching regiment and ready to take the next step in his coaching career. Coach Waln is a young enthusiastic relentless recruiter and a high energy personality that brings added passion to our rising program. He has recruiting ties in Florida, Virginia, and locally by playing, coaching in the area at the high school and AAU level. Daniel will be a valuable asset in every phase of the program. Coach Waln is the perfect fit for my FIRE system and I am blessed to have Daniel apart of Lees McRae and our basketball program."


Waln has also worked with various college coaches and he 's been a basketball camp counselor.


“This is a big step up for me in my career and I am so happy and blessed to be a part of the Lees-McRae basketball program,” Waln said. “I have had the opportunity to learn from some of the top coaches in the game and feel like I am prepared for this great new challenge.”


Waln has spent time learning from assistant coaches Tim Lawrence (Robert Morris University), Tyler Sanborn (Hampden-Sydney College) and Rhett Bonner (UNC-Charlotte) as well as top North Carolina high school coach Marc Payne. In addition to his coaching experience, Waln also got the opportunity to be a basketball camp counselor during clinics at Randolph-Macon College and Hampden-Sydney College.



Photo Courtesy: Dan Waln, LMC Athletics