Dan Lee enters his eighth season as the head cross country coach as well as assistant coach for the East Carolina University track and field men's and women's teams. Lee is in charge of men's and women's cross country as well as the middle/long distance runners for men's and women's track.
As the head cross country coach, Lee has led the Pirates to the NCAA Southeast Regional for the last three years. Most recently, East Carolina's women's squad turned in a 17th-place finish at the 2013 NCAA Southeast Regional. Senior Chelsea Hollingsworth was the Pirates' top-finisher in the 6K race as she turned in a season-best time of 22:07.
Lee's cross country squads found success during the 2013 season as the women's team finished fourth at the Conference USA Championships, while the men's side placed ninth. Redshirt senior Brooke Kott earned C-USA First Team All-Conference honors for the second time in her career with a seventh-place finish in the women's 5K race, turning in a time of 17:37.67.
Under Lee's direction, the women's cross country team continues to excel as the Lady Pirates finished with a program-best ninth-place showing at the NCAA Southeast Regional in 2012, which is two places higher than their finish in 2011. At the NCAA Southeast Regional, the Pirates were led by junior Bjork Olsen who finished 18th out of 255 competitors to secure an All-Region selection. Prior to their success at the NCAA Southeast Regional, East Carolina turned in a pair of positive efforts at the Conference USA Championship as the women placed third and the men finished seventh. The women's third-place ranking was the highest team finish ever by the squad. In 2011, Lee led the women's squad to the NCAA Southeast Regional where they finished a program-best 11th. Senior Brittany Copeland paced the Pirates with a top-25 finish as she set the ECU program record for a 6K with a time of 20:59.9. Earlier that season, the women claimed a fourth-place finish at the C-USA Championship, while the men took seventh. The fourth-place showing for the women was their best-ever finish at the league meet.
In 2010, both cross country programs improved for the third-straight campaign. The men finished fifth at the Conference USA Championship, tied with the 2004 and 2008 squads for the program's best finish. The women were one slot behind their best-ever place as they came in sixth. Individually, Zack Montijo earned All-Conference USA Third-Team honors for the men while Brittany Copeland (second team) and Tara Wilson (third team) received accolades for the women's side. It was the first time in program history the women had two All-C-USA selections in the same season.
Both the men and women took home the ECU Pirate Invitational title last season and the women also claimed the Mount Olive College Invitational crown. At the NCAA Southeast Regional, the men came in 23rd for the program's best performance since placing 17th in 2004. On the women's side at the meet, Wilson ran the fifth-best 6K in program history with a time of 21:40.3 to finish 54th overall.
In 2009, Lee helped the men's squad capture the Campbell Invitational and ECU Pirate Invitational championships. The first-place finishes were the men's first team titles since the 2004 North Carolina Collegiate Championship. The pair of championships also marked the first time the program had claimed two first-place finishes in the same season since 2003.
The women also took the 2009 ECU Pirate Invitational for their first title since the 2006 McAlister's Deli Invitational. Lee guided Wilson to a 15-spot improvement at the NCAA Southeast Regional as she turned in the 12th-best time in program history. Wilson, the team's top finisher at the Conference USA Championship, was also one of seven female athletes selected to the league all-academic team. Amanda Lapp made a 25-spot leap at the league meet with 35th-place showing and a time of 19:50.8. She also moved up 90 spots at the NCAA Regionals, finishing the 6K in 22:57.72 and 113th place.
In 2008, both the men's and women's cross country squads improved two places at the C-USA Championship as the men finished in fifth, their best showing since the 2004 meet, and the women came in sixth, their highest placement since 2001. Lee also guided Montijo and Copeland to Second-Team All-Conference USA finishes. The duo became the first Pirate runners to earn All-Conference recognition since 2005. Additionally, Montijo was named the Conference USA Freshman-of-the-Year, a first for the ECU program.
During Lee's first year as a track coach, he revamped the training program, leading to many record-setting marks. By the end of the first season under Lee, all of the athletes in the middle/ long distance crew achieved career-best performances in at least one event.
Lee came to ECU after seven years of coaching in the high school ranks at Wake Forest and Apex in North Carolina. During his time at these schools, he helped rewrite the record books. At Wake Forest, 74 of the 80 slots on the all-time top-10 middle/long distance lists are filled by his runners. During his two years at Apex, Lee helped add many names to the school's all-time top-10 lists, including the men's 800-meter state champion in 2003.
Beyond his high school athletes, Lee privately coached many others. The most heralded of these athletes was Sandy Roberts, a two-time qualifier for the Foot Locker Cross Country National Championship. In all, Lee has coached medalists in 15 of the 18 events, and state champions in 11 events, at the North Carolina 4A State Championships.
Competing for North Carolina State University as a walk-on in 1992, Lee later earned a scholarship through his hard work and dedication. During his time as a member of the Wolfpack, he was part of the team that captured the 1996 Atlantic Coast Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championship. Lee competed in the open 800-meter run as well as the 4x400-meter relay. His efforts earned him a place in the N.C. State record books with top-10 all-time performances in the open 800-meters (indoor and outdoor), as well as the 4x800-meter and distance medley relays (indoor and outdoor).
Lee earned his BS in science education in 1997 and completed his coursework for an MA in exercise physiology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2006. He holds USA Track & Field Level I and Level II Coaches Certifications and is a regular speaker at Cross Country and Track & Field camps/clinics.
Lee is married to the former Rachel Pascha Shugarman, who is a 1998 graduate of UNC-Greensboro with a BFA in Dance. Before her marriage, she spent six years performing in plays and musicals around the world and on the famous stages of New York City.