With the 2016-17 season, Lee Buchanan starts his fourth season as the head women’s basketball coach for the LaGrange College Panthers. Buchanan has 30 years of coaching experience at the collegiate level, including 24 seasons as a head coach.
Buchanan has guided the Panthers to a 51-30 record while rebuilding the program from the ground up. When Buchanan took over a program in the fall of 2013, the roster returned only eight players and the team was picked 11th in the USA South pre-season coaches’ poll. However, the “Great Eight” as the team was known, surpassed all expectations and finished the season with a final record of 16-11, advancing to the semifinals of the USA South Conference Tournament.
Buchanan’s second squad for the 2014-15 seaon saw the addition of 13 new players, including nine freshmen. Buchanan guided the young Panther squad to a 17-10 overall record and a second place finish in the South Division of the conference. During the season, Buchanan recorded his 400th career win on Jan. 14, 2015, defeating Wesleyan 72-57. By season’s end, the team found themselves playing in the semifinals of the conference tournament for the second straight year, falling to the eventual champion, Greensboro College.
The 2015-16 team reached the USA South Tournament semifinals for the third straight season. The Panthers closed out the season 18-9, the third straight time the Panthers had improved on their win total from the season before. The Panthers led the USA South defensively, allowing opponents only 51.4 points per game, which ranked 16th in NCAA Division III statistics. Teams shot only 31.4 percent from the floor against the Panthers. Senior Kelsey Mitchell led the conference in free throw shooting and ranked in the top five of three other statistcial categories. Mitchell was a USA South All-Conference Honorable Mention selection.
Buchanan has been a head women’s basketball coach at all levels of the NCAA. Prior to coming to LaGrange, he was the women’s head coach at NCAA Division I Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Ill. In 2013, Buchanan guided EIU to an Ohio Valley Conference regular-season championship and was voted the conference’s Coach-of-the-Year for his efforts (Buchanan is the only women’s basketball coach in EIU school history to be named coach of the year). The team advanced to the second round of the Women’s National Invitational Tournament, defeating the University of Missouri in the first round for the school’s first-ever postseason win. Buchanan was also named Coach-of-the-Year by the Illinois Basketball Coaches Association and the team received the 2013 OVC Team Sportsmanship Award for the first time in program history.
Before serving five seasons as the Associate Head Coach at EIU, Buchanan had two head coaching stops of four years each at NCAA Division II member schools the University of Missouri- St. Louis and Francis Marion University in South Carolina. At FMU, Buchanan’s teams reached the NCAA Division II National Tournament Sweet 16 three straight years. In 1999, the team won the Peach Belt Conference regular season championship with an undefeated 16-0 record and finished the season with a record of 27-3. The team also led the nation at the NCAA II level in 3-point field goal percentage and was ranked as high as No. 2 in the country. In four seasons at Francis Marion, Buchanan complied a record of 92-29.
Buchanan started his coaching career as an assistant coach at Brescia University in Kentucky, where he became the head coach after just one year. He built one of the top NAIA women’s basketball programs in the country winning 230 games in 12 seasons (the all-time winningest coach in school history). Buchanan’s teams were ranked as high as third in the country during that time and won three conference championships, a regional championship and advanced to three straight NAIA National Championship Tournaments finishing in the Elite Eight in 1997. Buchanan was a three-time Kentucky Intercollegiate Coach of the Year, the NAIA Mid-South Region Coach of the Year, and the NAIA District 32 Coach of the Year during his 12 year stint for the Bearcats.
Buchanan is a graduate of Murray (Ky.) State University and holds a master’s degree from Eastern Illinois University. He and his wife, Lisa, have a son, Austin.
LEE BUCHANAN'S HEAD COACHING RECORD
Buchanan's Career by the Numbers
Overall Head Coaching Record- 427-258
Associate Head Coaching Record- 120-70
|LaGrange College||NCAA III||Head Coach||2013-Present||51-30|
|Eastern Illinois University||NCAA I||Head Coach||2012-13||20-10|
|Eastern Illinois University||NCAA I||Associate Head Coach||2007-12||106-55|
|Univ. of Missouri-St. Louis||NCAA II||Head Coach||2003-07||34-69|
|Univ. of Southern Mississippi||NCAA I||Associate Head Coach||2002-03||14-15|
|Francis Marion University||NCAA II||Head Coach||1998-2002||92-29|
|Brescia University||NAIA||Head Coach||1986-98||230-118|