Coach Dan Washburn will always be remembered throughout Alabama as the director of the AHSAA for 17 years. But Coach Washburn’s career in education and athletics is much more than that.
After graduating from LaFayette and playing football at UT-Chattanooga, Washburn became an assistant coach at Valley for Doug Lockridge, who Washburn considered a mentor. After five years, he went to Lanett to become the Panthers’ head coach and stayed there for six seasons. He coached at Prattville in 1973 before returning to Lanett the next year and staying there until 1983.
In his two tenures with the Panthers, Washburn went 109-45-4 over 15 seasons. In that time, Lanett had 12 winning seasons and made the state playoffs four times, in an era where making the playoffs was extremely difficult. Lanett has since added Washburn’s name to its stadium.
Washburn stepped aside from coaching to become Lanett City Schools’ superintendent, a position he held for seven years. In 1991, Washburn was hired as the AHSAA’s executive director, a position he held for 17 years.
Washburn’s tenure with the association saw notable achievements, including bringing the boys and girls basketball semifinal and final rounds to one location; establishing the then-Super Six football state championships in Birmingham; creating the All-Star week for several sports; and establishing the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame, to which he was selected in 2000.
Coach Washburn was elected to the National Federation of High Schools Hall of Fame in 2011.
Washburn was a winner as a high school player, a college athlete, a high school football coach, as well as a superintendent. He established some of the AHSAA’s most success programs. His contributions to high school football and athletics in the state are rivaled by very few.
The Alabama Football Coaches Association is proud to present its Lifetime Achievement Award to Coach Dan Washburn.