"Nighthawk" Damian Daniels returns to Columbus, hired as defensive coordinator

by Alex Husting

Damien Daniels, a former Lions defensive back who finished his career with 116 interceptions, is coming home. Daniels is returning to Columbus to serve as the Lions defensive coordinator for the 2022 season.

With the departure of Brandon Reed earlier this week, the Columbus Lions needed to fill a big hole on the coaching staff. Reed coached the best defense in the league last year, and helped lead the Lions to the NAL Championship game in four of the last five seasons.

They found their guy in five-time Defensive Player of the Year winner, owner of the PIFL career interceptions record and three-time league champion when he played with the Lions, “Nighthawk” Damien Daniels.

The Nighthawk’s career spanned nine years, bookended by the inaugural season of the Columbus Lions and their last championship in the PIFL. He is one of the best defensive backs in the history of arena football, owning the Lions career interception record by a wide margin with 96 in seven years.

Just last season, Daniels had his name added to the Ring of Fame at the Columbus Civic Center and his jersey was officially retired by the Lions. After that ceremony, Nighthawk talked about his career and if he ever wanted to coach

“We actually talked about that, that last year that I played, saying that it may be an opportunity for me to coach that next year, but things just didn't work out that way,” Daniels said. “But, I can definitely see myself doing that.” 

Now he returns to the Lions, hoping to bring his expertise and his ballhawking style to an already dominant defense. The Lions were the best defense in the NAL last season and led the league in forced turnovers, with 18 interceptions and 13 fumble recoveries.

Season tickets for the 2022 NAL season are already on sale and can be found here. The full 2022 NAL schedule has been released and fans can check it out here.


The Columbus Lions are members of the National Arena League (NAL). Founded in 2007, the Columbus Lions are starting their 16th season in 2022. The Lions are a 3x league champion and 14 playoff appearances in their rich history. The Lions play their home games at Hughston Field in the Columbus Civic Center. Lions Season Ticket Memberships are on sale now call (706) 322-3336 or visit columbuslions.com. Follow the Lions on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/Lionsfootball/, twitter @columbuslions and instagram.com/Columbuslions.


The National Arena League was founded in 2016 and hosted its inaugural season in 2017 as the premier league in arena football. The National Arena League will kick off its sixth season in 2022. For more information regarding expansion opportunities or partnerships, contact Commissioner Chris Siegfried at chris@nationalarenaleague.com For more information about the NAL visit www.nationalarenaleague.com, facebook.com/nationalarenaleauge, twitter.com/NALfootball, Instagram.com/nationalarenaleague.