UMSL Names Lee Buchanan Women's Basketball Head Coach

Buchanan Brings Winning Experience to Women's Basketball Program

St. Louis, Mo. – University of Missouri-St. Louis athletic director Pat Dolan has announced the hiring of Lee Buchanan as the new women’s basketball head coach at UMSL. Buchanan becomes the ninth head coach in the program’s history and replaces Shelly Ethridge, who resigned in June to pursue other career opportunities.

“We’re extremely happy to be able to hire someone with Lee’s coaching experience and past success. He has great basketball knowledge and is familiar with the GLVC having spent some time coaching in Owensboro (Ky.), and has a proven track record of guiding winning programs,” said UMSL Athletic Director Pat Dolan. “We look forward to Lee being able to continue the building of the program and take it to that next level. I feel confident that Lee will be able to come in and work with the campus and local community and help continue the building of our women’s basketball program.”

“I’m real excited about the opportunity to come to the University of Missouri-St. Louis and build the women’s basketball program into something that the Athletic Department and the University can be proud of,” said Buchanan. “It’s going to take a little bit of time, but with a lot of hard work I think we can have some good success. I know a lot of the coaches in the Great Lakes Valley Conference who do a great job, and have a lot of respect for those coaches, and I’m excited to help be a part of building a successful program in such a tough conference.”

“Having grown up in Southern Illinois, I’m excited to get back to the Midwest area and getting to work in a great city like St. Louis is like a homecoming for myself and my family,” said Buchanan. “This is just a quality situation, to get the chance to build a strong basketball program in a great city and I’m just really excited to get things going at the University of Missouri-St. Louis.”

Buchanan comes to UMSL with 18 years of collegiate coaching experience, including 16 years as a head coach where he has had just two losing seasons, with both losing seasons coming in his first two years as a head coach. Buchanan spent last year as the associate head coach at Southern Mississippi University where the team went 14-15 last season in his only year at the Division I level. Prior to last season, Buchanan was the head coach at Division II Francis Marion in Florence, S.C. In four seasons at Francis Marion, he finished with a 92-29 record and is currently the second winningest coach in the school’s history. While there, Buchanan led the Patriots to three Sweet 16 appearances in his four years and won the Peach Belt Conference Championship in the 1998-99 season while compiling a 54-13 conference record during his tenure. In his first year at Francis Marion, Buchanan led the team to a 27-3 record, and followed that by going 25-8 and 24-7 the next two seasons. His final year saw the team stumble a bit and finish at 16-11, but still placed second in the Peach Belt Conference.

Buchanan started his collegiate coaching career at Brescia University, an NAIA institution in Owensboro, Ky. He spent 13 seasons at Brescia, the first year as an assistant coach where he helped start the program from scratch, and then spent the last 12 years as the head coach. In his third season at Brescia, Buchanan led the team to a remarkable turnaround. After going 1-20 in the 1987-88 season, the team finished 24-5 the following year and started a string of eight 20-win seasons over the next ten seasons. During his 12 years as head coach at Brescia, he compiled a 230-118 career record and guided the team to the NAIA National Tournament in 1995. That trip marked the first of three straight appearances to the NAIA Tournament for Brescia, advancing as far as the Elite Eight in 1997. His coaching career started at the high school level where he served as the assistant coach for two years at McLean County (Ky.) High School, one year as the boys assistant and his second year as the girls assistant coach.

Buchanan has earned several awards during his career, including being named a three-time Coach of the Year in the Kentucky Intercollegiate Conference in 1996, 1997 and 1998 while at Brescia University. In 1995 he was named the NAIA Mid-South Region Coach of the Year and in 1989 was named the NAIA District 32 Coach of the Year. At Francis Marion, he was named by the Division II Bulletin as the Division II Coach of the Month in November 1998.

Buchanan graduated from Murray State University in 1983 with a bachelor of science in education and a coaching certification, and is a graduate of Harrisburg (Ill.) High School. Buchanan is married to the former Lisa Grathler of Harrisburg, Ill., and the couple has a son, Austin.

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