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Dan Washburn grew up in Chambers County, Alabama and played high school football at Lafayette High School. After graduation he received a scholarship to Chattanooga to play for the Moccasins.
Washburn later received his Master's degree from Troy State University. After a stellar career in college he returned to his native Chambers County to begin a 45 year career in athletics and education.
His first job was as an assistant at Valley High School where he remained for five years. In 1967 he took the head coaching position at rival Lanett where he would remain for the next six seasons.
Washburn would jump over to Prattville for a single season in 1973 before returning to Lanett for the final nine seasons of his coaching career. He would serve as an assistant principle, athletic director and head coach until 1983.
His overall coaching record would be 120-54-4 over 17 years. His teams would qualify for the playoffs on four occasions with three of those teams making it to the semi-finals before losing. After leaving Lanett he would serve for seven years as Superintendent of Education for Lanett City Schools.
From there he moved to Montgomery and the AHSAA offices. Coach Washburn would serve the next 17 years with distinction as the third full time Executive Director of the AHSAA.
During his tenure, four of the organization's most successful programs have been implemented: The State Finals Basketball Tournament held in Birmingham, the Super Six Football Championships held in Birmingham, the summer All-Star Sports Week program held in Montgomery, and the establishment of the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame.
He was elected to the AHSAA Hall of Fame in 2000 and elected President of the National Federation of State High School Association. He was inducted into the NFHS National Hall of Fame in 2011. The stadium was named in his honor at Lanett. He would step down from the AHSAA on July 31, 2007.