WESTERN MICHIGAN BRONCOS
Tim Lester is in his second season as
head coach of his alma mater after
being named the 16th head football
coach in Western Michigan history
on Friday, Jan. 13, 2017. Lester was a fouryear
starter at quarterback for the Broncos
from 1996-99 and an assistant coach at WMU
during the 2005 and 2006 seasons.
In his first season as head coach at
Western Michigan in 2017, the Broncos
led the Mid-American Conference with
12 all-conference selections and had
16 Academic All-MAC selections, five
Distinguished Scholar-Athletes and a
CoSIDA Academic All-District selection. As
a team, the Broncos posted a 3.08 GPA, the
second highest in program history. Offensive
lineman Chukwuma Okorafor collected
six All-America honors and Wyatt Pfieffer
was an All-American as a long snapper. As
a unit, Western Michigan finished third in
the nation in Special Teams Efficiency.
Several school records were broken as
running back Jarvion Franklin became
WMU’s all-time leading rusher with 4,867
career yards, and also set a school record
for most career touchdowns with 56. Darius
Phillips became the FBS all-time leader for
career runbacks with 12 and tied the FBS
record with five career pick-sixes. Phillips
was named MAC Special Teams Player of
the Year for the second-straight season and
had 100-yard kickoff returns in back-to-back
weeks to open the season against #4 USC
and Michigan State.
WMU had three players taken in the NFL
Draft - Okorafor (3rd round, Pittsburgh),
Phillips (5th round, Cincinnati) and
defensive back Sam Beal (supplemental -
3rd round, NY Giants).
On the recruiting front, Western Michigan
signed the highest rated recruiting class in
MAC history under Lester in 2017.
Prior to taking the head coaching position
at Western Michigan Lester was the
quarterbacks coach at Purdue in 2016. Lester
came to the Boilermakers from Syracuse,
where he served as quarterbacks coach
from 2013 to 2015 and doubled as offensive
coordinator in 2014 and 2015.
A 2011 Western Michigan Athletics Hall
of Fame inductee, Lester was the 1996 MAC
Freshman of the Year, a two-time Second
Team All-MAC selection and led the Broncos
to a MAC championship game appearance his
senior season. He finished his WMU career
ranked fourth in FBS history in passing yards
(11,299) and sixth in touchdown passes (87).
Following college, he played in the XFL and
Arena Football League.
The 2018 Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
will be Lester’s 88th game as a head coach,
having also led programs at the Division II
and III levels.
Lester is married to wife, Dawn, and
has four sons - Quinn, who is currently a
sophomore men’s volleyball player at Ball
State, as well as three grade-school age sons
- Cooper, Carter and Camden.
32 FAMOUS IDAHO POTATO BOWL | DECEMBER 21, 2018