Lee Buchanan   

Lee Buchanan named as new head coach

Aug. 21, 2013

Lee Buchanan has been named the new women's basketball head coach at LaGrange College. He brings numerous individual honors and 27 years of experience to the post, including 21 as a head coach.

Last season, Buchanan led the women's squad at NCAA Division I Eastern Illinois University. He guided the Panthers to an Ohio Valley Conference West Division regular-season championship with a 12-4 mark. The team advanced to the second round of the Women's National Invitation Tournament, where the Panthers defeated Missouri in the first round for the school's first-ever postseason win.

"Having Lee arrive to lead our women's team brings an amazing level of excitement to our program," said LaGrange College Athletic Director Jennifer Claybrook. "We look forward to what his broad experience and track record of success will bring to Panther Basketball."

According to Buchanan, the LaGrange post is the right opportunity at the right time.

"I'm ready to shift my focus from Division I to the more student-athlete oriented approach of Division III, and for the change in lifestyle that shift allows," Buchanan said. "I had coached in South Carolina, so this part of the country is familiar to my family and me. We liked the weather in the South and are looking forward to returning to it."

Panther fans can expect to see exciting basketball from Buchanan's teams.

"We will play hard every night and play smart," he said. "I want my team to play together and share the ball; assists are very important to me. Our talent will dictate our philosophy, and we will be stingy on defense."

Buchanan was named the 2013 OVC Coach of the Year and the 2013 Coach of the Year by the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association. Overall, Eastern Illinois was 119-71 in the six years Buchanan was on the coaching staff.

Before serving the five previous seasons as an assistant at the Charleston, Ill., school, Buchanan had two head coaching stops of four years each at NCAA Division II members University of Missouri-St. Louis and Francis Marion University in South Carolina. At Francis Marion, Buchanan's teams reached the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Division II Tournament three straight years. The 1999 team finished 27-3 and was ranked ninth in the nation, while leading Division II in 3-point field goal percentage.

He started his coaching career as an assistant at Brescia University in Kentucky, where he became the head coach after one year and remained for the next 12 seasons. His Brescia teams won 230 games and three conference championships, advanced to three NAIA Tournaments and won a regional to advance to the NAIA Final Eight. He was a three-time Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference coach of the year, the NAIA Mid-South Region coach of the year and the NAIA District 32 coach of the year.

"We are especially pleased to have someone of Lee's caliber join the Panther coaching staff," said LaGrange College President Dan McAlexander.

"Athletics play a strong part in our mission of preparing students to become successful, responsible citizens who aspire to lives of integrity and moral courage. We are confident he will help accomplish those aims on and off the court."

Buchanan is a graduate of Murray (Ky.) State University and holds a master's degree from Eastern Illinois. He and his wife, Lisa, have a son, Austin.

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