Name: Wahoo McDaniel
Year Inducted: 2010

Wahoo McDaniel

Wahoo McDaniel was as unique as a snowflake, as unpredictable as the weather, and rained bloody murder on football fields and wrestling rings all his life. Growing up in the hardscrabble Texas oilfields, Edward Wahoo McDaniel was a catcher on a Little League team coached by future President George H.W. Bush, and parlayed his success onto the gridiron at the University of Oklahoma and the American Football League. "Tackle by who?" the New York Jets public address announcer asked fans in 1964 and 1965. "Wahoo!" the crowd responded. A fight with an off-duty policeman in 1968 ended his career, but he just focused his energies toward wrestling, an off-season hobby since January 1962. His early years were spent in Florida and Texas, where he and Johnny Valentine kicked off their legendary cross-country feud, battling for the Texas heavyweight title in 1969 and 1970. They'd reprise that in the Mid-Atlantic territory in 1974, where McDaniel ended up with the Mid-Atlantic title. As Sandy Scott once told journalist Mike Mooneyham: "All I would hear is Valentine saying 'Harder! Harder! Harder!' Wahoo would say, 'My hand's about busted!' John would say 'Harder!'" Throwing chop after chop - he trimmed one of his fingernails to a point for some added zing - McDaniel held just about every title imaginable during his time in the Mid-Atlantic. Though he was not a classic worker or a marvel on the microphone, he was packed with charisma and a personality that made fans believe. "Who was Wahoo McDaniel?" Florida sportswriter Dave Hyde asked after his death at age 63 in 2002. "Who wasn't he? An American Indian, an expansion Dolphin, a legendary wrestler, an old-time carouser, a full-time personality, an Oiler, a Bronco, a Jet, a guard, a linebacker, a kicker - he was the kind of figure we lost long ago on the sports pages: an original."

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