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Angelo State students in Dr. Jordan Daniel’s kinesiology classes may soon be learning from a Guinness World Record holder for weightlifting.

The son of a West Texas football coach, Daniel starting lifting weights in middle school to be close to his dad. He got serious about lifting in high school and while playing football at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, and it became a way of life.

“I love it because it’s essentially a challenge against yourself,” Daniel said. “Everyone has a hobby or something they do just for the self-satisfaction of doing it and doing it well. Mine just happens to be weightlifting. To learn different lifts and techniques, to move well and to perform well, it’s so much fun because it’s challenging.”

By continually challenging himself, Daniel could find his name in the Guinness Book of World Records. The current world-record weight for a zercher squat is 637 pounds. In December 2021, Daniel completed a 640-pound squat, and he topped that in January by squatting 650 pounds. Videos of both lifts are posted on his Twitter feed, and he is awaiting word from Guinness as to whether he will be recognized for a new world record.

Another benefit of Daniel’s weightlifting is how it helps him connect with his students.

“For working out, you have to be able to stretch and move your body well,” Daniel said. “You still don’t normally see guys this strong being very flexible, but I can do the splits. I like to mess with my students because they never believe me when I first tell them, so I have to show them.”

“Plus, I see more of my students in the weight room than if I just wait in my office,” he added. “So it’s a really cool way for me to interact with them.”

Interaction with his students is also a key component of Daniel’s teaching philosophy, “Connect – Care – Share.”

“I need to connect with students on a personal level so they will care what I think or have to say,” he said. “We have to connect as people so the caring can happen. The sharing is the education part and the content of my classes.”

“ASU is not just a place where I work. It’s in my family now.”

Daniel’s fashion sense also helps him connect with his students. A self-professed nerd (his Twitter handle is @ProfessorNerdo), he wears a bowtie to campus every day.

“I transitioned to being a professor from being a coach,” Daniel said. “I dressed like a coach and my first groups of students called me ‘Coach.’ But I wanted to be ‘Dr. Daniel,’ so I decided to go with wearing a bowtie.”

“Plus, I’m 6-foot-3,” he added, “and if I tie a regular tie wrong, I look more like a warehouse foreman or something. So I tried the bowtie and it stuck. If I ever forget my bowtie now, my students wonder what is wrong. So I keep a couple of spares in my office, just in case.”

In addition to his students, Daniel actually likes interacting with young people of all ages. He is actively involved with the Special Olympics, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and West Texas Rehab Center, and his affinity for kids carries over into his ASU classes.

“Kids are one of the most vulnerable people groups,” Daniel said. “They have the least amount of power. They are also vulnerable to all sorts of potentially negative things directed toward them, and they are the people who are most impacted by those negative things. So I’m very interested in educating people who are going to work with kids so they know how to work with them better.”

“I also try to stay involved with those organizations,” he added, “because when you stop learning, that’s where your knowledge base stops, and our field is always growing.”

Another thing that keeps growing is the Daniel clan. He and his wife, Jill, a 2021 ASU graduate, have three young children, Molly (9), Maxie (6) and Maggie (3), and they are all fully vested members of the Ram Fam.

“There are really good people at ASU,” Daniel said. “We have caring faculty and staff, and awesome students. I think this is a great city and a great university, and I can’t imagine working anywhere else because I’m really happy where I am. There are a lot of cool things going on at ASU, and I want to be a part of it.”

“ASU is not just a place where I work. It’s in my family now.”