Dr. Sara Lee
Sara Lee, Associate Professor of Physical Education and Women's Studies, Head Women's Basketball, teaches in the Physical Education department as well as "Women in Sport" and "Coaching Methods."
In 2011-12, Sara Lee enters her 23nd season as Denison's head women's basketball coach and her fourth year as the department's Assistant Athletic Director.
The last seven seasons under Lee have been the most successful stretch in the history of the Denison women's basketball program. Since 2003-04 the Big Red have won 171 games, have posted a .750 winning percentage and have averaged just over 24 wins per season.
Last season the Big Red completed the conference's first undefeated regular season (25-0) and went on to capture the 2011 North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament for the sixth time out of the last seven seasons. Led by All-American and NCAC Player of the Year, Shaina Kaiser, Denison took a 28-0 record into the NCAA Tournament where they suffered a loss to defending national champion and eventual national runner-up, Washington University.
The 2009-10 season marked a number of milestones for Lee and her Big Red squad. On Jan. 13, 2010 Lee recorded victory No. 300 of her career against Oberlin College. She would go on to lead her team to a 21-8 record and a No. 3 seed in the NCAC postseason tournament where DU would knock off the No. 2 and No. 1 seeds to capture the program's sixth conference tournament championship and their fifth title out of the last six years. The team advanced to the NCAA Division III Championship Tournament for the sixth time in school history before falling to fourth-ranked Hope College in the first round.
The previous year, Lee's Denison team posted a perfect 16-0 NCAC mark en route to their second conference title. The 2008-09 squad tied the school record for consecutive victories (16), while senior Ellen O'Brien finished the season as the nation's leader with a 4.37 assist/turnover ratio. Four players landed on the all-conference teams highlighted by Shaina Kaiser who was named NCAC Player of the Year. Kaiser became just the fifth player in the program's history to win the honor.
In 2007-08 the Big Red captured the program's fourth consecutive North Coast Athletic Conference Tournament Championship. The tournament title sent the Big Red back to the NCAA Tournament for the fourth straight season.
In 2006-07 the Big Red captured their third consecutive NCAC Tournament championship and advanced to their third straight NCAA Division III Tournament where they defeated defending national champion, Hope College, 82-66 in the first round before falling to eventual national champ, DePauw, in the second-round. Denison's 25 victories were a new school single-season record and their 15-game winning streak which spanned over eight weeks during the season, was also a new high.
Lee is Denison's all-time leader in coaching victories with a career mark of 337-236 since the 1989-1990 season. She is a four-time NCAC Coach of the Year (1990-91, 1997-98, 2006-07 and 2010-11).
In addition to her basketball coaching duties, Lee spent 18 seasons as the head volleyball coach for the Big Red. She stepped down prior to the 2007 season after recording 395 career victories. She is the program's all-time leader in wins and holds a .618 career winning percentage as the head volleyball coach. The team's 31 victories in 1993 set a new school record which still stands.
In 1989 Lee came to Denison from Lake Erie College in Painesville, Ohio, where she was the head coach of women's volleyball, basketball and softball for two years. While at Lake Erie, she also served as the coordinator of women's athletics, an instructor of physical education, a residence hall director and an academic advisor.
A native of Moorhead, Minn., Lee enrolled at Moorhead State University after graduating from high school in 1982. She earned her B.S. in physical education from Moorhead State in 1986. Lee went on to earn an M.A. in athletic administration from Kent State in 1987.
While at Moorhead State, Lee's athletic career was highlighted by several outstanding accomplishments. She was a four-year letter winner in each of three sports: volleyball, basketball and softball. In volleyball, Lee earned all-conference and all-district recognition her junior and senior years, and was twice named as her team's most valuable player. Her senior year, Lee served as a basketball captain, and she was an all-district selection in softball.
Most recently, Coach Lee has been inducted into the Moorhead State University Athletic Hall of Fame for her distinguished accomplishments and career both on and off the playing field.
Lee's honors as an undergraduate include the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Scholarship which is awarded annually by NAIA athletic directors. Lee was also honored as the recipient of the Moorhead State Student-Athlete Award her senior year. At Kent State, Lee was selected for a graduate assistantship in physical education.
In addition to her coaching duties, Lee is an associate professor in Denison's department of athletics, physical education and recreation, and is an Assistant Athletic Director.