There are orthodox ways for one to become a high school’s head girls basketball coach. Those don’t include a business degree and a brief career in information technology.
But for Jonathan Lee and Lake Dallas, a fresh start and a unique approach might be best.
Lee was approved June 18 by the Lake Dallas school board to become the new girls coach. It’s the first head coaching job Lee has held.
Lee was an assistant at Flower Mound Marcus for five years before joining Lake Dallas. He takes over for Jason Boston. Lake Dallas went 1-11 in district play last season and finished with an overall record of 6-24.
The 32-year-old Lee was intrigued by the thought of helping the Lady Falcons recover from last year’s struggles and make a push for the playoffs, where Lake Dallas hasn’t been since 2009.
“I’ve seen the talent that’s come through there, and for whatever reason, in the years past … the playoff runs haven’t been happening and the program hasn’t been exactly what it was,” Lee said. “I feel confident the talent is there. They just need structure.”
Lake Dallas head volleyball coach and girls athletic coordinator Heather Van Noy said the most impressive parts of Lee’s interview for the position were his organizational skills and how prepared he was to become the team’s next head coach.
“We had some amazing candidates,” Van Noy said. “We had some basketball coaches that have been around for a long time and have been head coaches before. I wasn’t a head coach before I came in, and I just wanted to be open. He just blew me out of the water with how organized he is and how much he loves the game.”
Van Noy recalled how Lee had already mapped out the first day of practice, the first day of weight training and how the team would go over film and statistics. Lee knew Lake Dallas’ stats from last season, knew the new District 5-4A the team is headed toward and knew the top players in the district.
“He’s my age, but he’s so fresh,” Van Noy said. “I think that’s what these girls need. They need somebody that’s so excited to be with them and believe in them. I’m really excited about him.”
Lee graduated from Texas A&M with a degree in management information systems, leading him into an IT consulting job for four years. But after a while, Lee decided to pursue coaching, something he wanted to do before he graduated from A&M.
Lee was the punter on Marcus’ 1997 state championship team, so when he decided to get into coaching, he went back to his alma matter. After starting out on the boys basketball staff, Lee transitioned over to the girls side. In five years at Marcus, he coached under four head coaches.
The Lady Falcons are returning three starters from last year’s team and seven players overall, including Megan Dando, who averaged a team-high 13.4 points per game to go along with 4.9 rebounds.
Lee wants his team to believe it can make the playoffs next season in a tough district.
“I think the biggest challenge that I’m facing that I already see would be expectations need to be raised,” Lee said. “I look at this as an opportunity to challenge some very talented players to be the best that they can be. I think to do that, we have to start by raising expectations.”
The path may have not been a traditional one, but for Lee and Lake Dallas, it seems to have worked out well.
“I would say God’s kind of taken me where he wants me,” Lee said. “It’s kind of neat, because what I thought I wanted ended up not being close to what I wanted. When I started coaching girls basketball, it was obviously the best fit.”
BEN BABY can be reached 940-566-6869. His e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org .