Orlando McDaniel was a former football and track star at Louisiana State University

By Jason Duaine Hahn
March 31, 2020 01:37 PM
Advertisement
Orlando McDaniel
Credit: Denver Post via Getty

Former NFL player Orlando McDaniel, who was a standout two-sport athlete during his time at Louisiana State University, died on Friday from complications of coronavirus.

The 59-year-old recently displayed symptoms of the coronavirus after returning home to Texas following a trip to Washington, according to The Advocate. It is unclear where he may have contracted the virus.

From an early age, McDaniel’s athletic abilities were apparent. In 1977, he ran the 120-yard hurdles in 13.5 seconds, then the fastest time in the country for a high school athlete. A year later, he would enroll at LSU, where he held dual positions as a wide receiver for the Tigers and as a hurdler for the school’s track team.

McDaniel briefly joined the Denver Broncos after being selected in the second round of the 1982 NFL Draft.

He would later become executive director and founder of the North Texas Cheetahs girls’ track club, a position he held until his death.

“Orlando was a tireless worker for the youth in his area of [Dallas-Fort Worth],” LSU track coach Dennis Shaver told The Advocate of McDaniels, a native of Shreveport, Louisiana.

“His youth North Texas Cheetahs Track Club, year after year, developed many of the great athletes competing for universities throughout the United States,” Shaver continued.

Orlando McDaniel
Orlando McDaniel
| Credit: Phil Sandlin/AP/Shutterstock

Former LSU basketball player Rudy Macklin used social media to pay condolences to his friend.

“I am sad to report one of our Football and Track and Field Tigers, Orlando McDaniel, has fallen to the coronavirus,” Macklin wrote in a Facebook post on Saturday. “This truly breaks my heart! One of our Broussard Hall frat brothers is gone. This virus is not like the common flu; it’s ten times more lethal.”

McDaniel still ranks third in LSU history in the 55 indoor hurdles and is tied for ninth in the 110 outdoor hurdles, WBRZ reported.

RELATED VIDEO: Contagion PSAs: Matt Damon Explains Social Distancing

“He was such a tremendous athlete in both sports, but the love he had for track and field was really special,” Shaver told the news station. “We’re fortunate that people like him get involved with our youth.”

“He was one of the most important people in our sport,” he added. “He had to persuade youth to spend their summers doing something productive. Orlando had essentially dedicated his life to it. They’d come to summer meets and have two busloads full of people. It was a real impressive group of people. He’s sorely going to be missed.”

The United States continues to be significantly affected by coronavirus, with more than 3,400 people succumbing to the disease as of Tuesday morning, according to the New York Times. More than 173,741 have contracted the virus so far, the outlet reported.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from CDC, WHO, and local public health departments. To help provide doctors and nurses on the front lines with life-saving medical resources, donate to Direct Relief here.