Lee began his colligate coaching career at his alma mater, Transylvania University, serving as an a assistant for four seasons and then moving into the head coaching position on an interim basis for the 1964-65 season. He then became an assistant coach at the University of Cincinnati.
After three seasons, Coach Rose returned to Transylvania as the head coach-athletic director. In eight total seasons at that position, he posted a 160-57 record (.737) that included five NCAA Division II tournaments berths and one trip to the NAIA tournament. He was named head coach and athletic director at the University of North Carolina – Charlotte in 1975.
After posting a 72-18 record (.800) for the 49ers, he was named the Sporting News 1977 National Coach of the Year as UNCC won the Sun Belt Conference and advanced to the Final Four. The city of Charlotte named Rose the Citizen of the Year in 1977. Rose then became head coach at Purdue for two seasons finishing with a record of 50-18. The 1978-79 season saw the Boilermakers advance to the NIT Finals and then to the NCAA Final Four a year later.
Rose is one of only 12 coaches to lead two different schools to the NCAA Final Four. He was named Big Ten Coach of the Year for the 1979-80 season. Following Purdue he then guided the University of South Florida to three NIT appearances in the next six years.
Internationally, Coach Rose was the head coach for the U.S. team at the 1979 Soviet Union Spartakiade Games and the World University Games in Kobe, Japan in 1985. He was one of 11 coaches chosen to take part in the selection of the 1980 U.S. Olympic basketball team and served on the selection committee for the second Dream Team in 1994. Over the years, Coach Rose has traveled to over 30 different countries as a coach and goodwill Ambassador.
Coach Rose supervised the coaches for the NBA Development League, the NBDL, for six years. He wrote a technical book for coaches and players entitled, “The Basketball Handbook”, which was published in 2004. For 20 years, Coach Rose has worked with the NBA and the Chicago Pre-Draft Camp by overseeing the camp coaches and organizing the floor and station work for the players.
Coach Rose and his wife, Eleanor, live in Charlotte, NC. They are the parents of two sons, Mike and Mark, and they have four grandchildren: Lee, Kristi, James and Zan. Lee is a native of West Irvine, Kentucky, and earned his BA degree at Transylvania University and his MA at the University of Kentucky. One of his proudest accomplishments is the work that he and Eleanor have done in the Appalachian counties of Kentucky. Over the past five years, he has been to 42 counties in Kentucky that are part of this Appalachian region. He has spoken to over ten thousand middle school students encouraging them to stay in school and improve their quality of life.
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