Watch CBS News

Western Michigan fires football coach Tim Lester

KALAMAZOO, Mich. (CBS DETROIT) - Western Michigan fired football coach Tim Lester on Monday after six seasons with the program. 

A former WMU quarterback, Lester became the school's 16th football coach on Jan. 13, 2017. He led the Broncos to a 37-32 overall record and three bowl game appearances. 

The Broncos went 5-7 in 2022. 

"The upcoming college football playoff expansion and the incredible foundation for success we have within our football program provides an exciting national opportunity for Bronco Football.  It is imperative that we seize this opportunity by pursuing a new direction within our football program," said WMU Director of Athletics Dan Bartholomae in a statement. "Western Michigan University can set the standard for football in the MAC, which in turn will position us for success in the new and evolving college football landscape. We will immediately embark on a search to welcome a leader that shares this aspirational vision."  

"First, I am disappointed that I won't get to lead the Western Michigan football program and these players in the future. I want to thank Al Molde and his staff for recruiting me here in 1995. I want to thank Bill Cubit for hiring me as an assistant in 2005.  And finally, I would like to thank Kathy Beauregard and President John Dunn for giving me the opportunity to lead this program six years ago", said Lester. 

"It has been an honor for me and my family to represent Western Michigan University and be a member of the Kalamazoo Area Community. I am also grateful for the dedicated group of loyal supporters that have been consistently behind our program.

Most importantly, I am proud of the resolve shown by our players and staff. To each and every one of them that gave their all for this program in the last 6 years, I love you and will support you in every possible way."

Prior to returning to WMU in 2017, Lester previously served as head coach at NCAA Division II Saint Joseph's (Ind.) College and NCAA Division III Elmhurst (Ill.) University. He also made coaching stops at North Central (Ill.) College, Syracuse and Purdue. 

"Coach Lester is a cherished WMU alumnus who has been a part of some of the most successful football seasons in our history, both as a student-athlete and as a coach," said Bartholomae. "He has represented Bronco Nation with integrity and with class, and he will always be welcomed in Kalamazoo and in our campus community.  I am thankful for our year working together and will be rooting him on in his future successes."  

WMU says it will partner with Glenn Sugiyama of DHR Global and immediately begin a national coaching search. 

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.