In 2016-17, Sara Lee enters her 28th season as Denison's head women's basketball coach and her sixth year as the department's Associate Athletic Director.
The last 13 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 263 games and have averaged 20 wins per season.
Lee and the Big Red are coming off a North Coast Athletic Conference Championship in 2015-16. The team finished with a 23-5 record, advancing to the NCAA Division III Tournament for the sixth time in program history. Junior Jordan Holmes was named to the WBCA and D3Hoops.com All-American team after leading the nation in blocked shots for the third-straight season. Holmes averaged 15.9 points per game and 17.8 rebounds per game, which was the second-best per game average in Division III.
Lee boasts a career record of 428-281 (.604) in 27 seasons at Denison. Entering the 2015-16 season she ranked 29th in victories among active Division III coaches. She is one of just 50 coaches in Division III history to reach the 400-win milestone.
Under Lee, Denison has won four NCAC championships and seven NCAC Tournament titles. In 2010-11, the Big Red completed the conference's first undefeated regular season at 25-0 and went on to captured the NCAC Tournament title for the sixth time in seven years. Led by NCAC Player of the Year, Shaina Kaiser, Denison finished the year 28-0, marking the best season in program history.
In 2010-11, 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 finished the year 28-0.
She is a five-time NCAC Coach of the Year, winning the award in 1990-91, 1997-98, 2006-07, 2010-11 and 2015-16.
In addition to her basketball coaching duties, Lee spent 18 seasons as the head volleyball coach at Denison. 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 that 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, women's basketball and softball. 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 Minnesota State Moorhead after graduating from high school in 1982. She earned her B.S. in physical education from Minnesota State Moorhead in 1986. Lee went on to earn an M.A. in athletic administration from Kent State in 1987.
While at Minnesota State Moorhead, Lee's athletic career was highlighted by several outstanding accomplishments. She was a four-year letter winner in each of three sports: volleyball, women's 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.
In 1995, Lee was inducted into the Minnesota State Moorhead 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 Minnesota State Moorhead Student-Athlete Award her senior year. At Kent State, Lee was selected for a graduate assistantship in physical education.
In addition to her coaching and administrative duties, Lee holds the title of Professor at Denison University.