Hon. Dan Coats

Board of Trustees

Service is in the very DNA of Dan Coats. As a soldier, Congressman, Senator, Ambassador and Director of National Intelligence, Coats has served his nation and his neighbors with distinction for more than half-a-century. Along the way, he partnered with Jay Hein in launching Sagamore Institute in 2004. Coats served as co-chairman of the Sagamore Board of Trustees during the think tank’s formative years, before returning to public service. Sagamore is grateful to have Dan Coats back home again in Indiana as a member of the Board of Trustees.

After graduating from Wheaton College, Coats began his lifetime of public service in the U.S. Army. A decade later, after starting a family with his wife Marsha and earning a law degree from Indiana University, he was elected to Congress, representing northeast Indiana in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1981 to 1988.

Coats then served in the U.S. Senate from 1989 to 1999. He was a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, led the Military Personnel Subcommittee and Air/Land Forces Subcommittee, served on the Senate Select Committee for Intelligence and the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee, and chaired the influential House-Senate Joint Economic Committee. During that decade in the Senate, Coats crafted a collection of family- and community-strengthening legislative reforms known as the Project for American Renewal. The Senate even renamed legislation focused on community development and children’s health and education the “COATS Act.”

Adhering to his self-imposed commitment to term limits, Coats retired from the Senate in 1999—only to be called back into public service in 2001, as U.S. Ambassador to Germany. Taking his post just days before the 9/11 attacks, Coats successfully and skillfully steered the critical U.S.-Germany relationship through some of its most difficult days.

After his second retirement from public life, Coats continued giving of his time and talents to Sagamore, to the Big Brother Big Sisters program, and to a range of other civil-society efforts that reflect his lifelong commitment to empowering individuals, families and communities. But he again answered his country’s call to elective office, returning to the Senate to serve the people of Indiana from 2011 to 2017.

Upon announcing his retirement, Coats looked forward to pouring time into his family and community. Yet again, his country called and Coats answered—this time in the all-important post of Director of National Intelligence. Serving as DNI from 2017 to 2019, Coats advised the president on intelligence matters, coordinated the work of America’s 18 intelligence agencies, and, in his words, empowered the intelligence community “to find the truth and speak the truth.”

As a member of the Sagamore board, Coats helps direct the think tank’s work in the areas of citizenship, economic opportunity and national security—areas Coats has championed throughout his lifetime of public service.