Coats, Daniel R. (1943-) | Wheaton College Archives & Special Collections
Daniel Ray Coats was born in Jackson, Michigan on May 16, 1943, where he attended the public schools and was graduated from the Jackson High School in 1961. He attended Wheaton College and majored in political science. He also was an active student athlete on the soccer team. He graduated from Wheaton in 1965. He served in the U.S. Army for three years after leaving Wheaton and later received a law degree in 1971 from the Indiana University School of Law in Indianapolis. He was admitted to the Indiana bar the following year and began a private practice in Fort Wayne. Coats also was an executive in a Fort Wayne, Indiana insurance company.
Mr. Coats began his political career as Dan Quayle's district representative in Indiana in the 1970s. He then ran for Mr. Quayle's Congressional seat when Mr. Quayle went to the Senate. Coats represented Indiana in the House for four terms before being appointed in 1989 to fill the Senate seat vacated when Dan Quayle became vice president. During his time in the Senate, Coats served on the Senate Armed Services Committee, serving as Chairman of the Military Personnel and Air/Land Forces Subcommittees. He also served on the Senate Select Committee for Intelligence and the Senate Labor and Human Resources Committee. In the Senate, he joined with Democratic Senator Joseph Lieberman in advocating and authorizing a number of defense reform and transformation initiatives. His major legislative agenda was The Project for American Renewal. His political theory was also articulated in a series of lectures that were published in 1998 as Mending Fences: Renewing Justice Between Government and Civil Society. Coats has served as the president of Big Brothers Big Sisters of America, and has served on a number of boards, and civic and volunteer organizations, including the Center for Jewish and Christian Values, which he co-chaired with Senator Lieberman.
Coats served in the Senate until 1999 and during his 12 years in office, Coats established himself as a conservative, opposing abortion and pushing unsuccessfully for a constitutional amendment to cut off federal funds to schools that ban voluntary prayer. Afterwards, he took a position in the Washington, D.C. law firm of Verner, Liipfert, Bernhard, McPherson and Hand. In 2001 Coats was appointed to the ambassadorship of Germany by President George W. Bush.