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Western Michigan hires Tim Lester as new coach

Associated Press

KALAMAZOO, Mich. – Western Michigan is turning to another coach in his 30s, hoping Tim Lester is the right choice to pick up where P.J. Fleck left off.

The Broncos announced Friday night that Lester was the choice to take over the program after Fleck departed last week to become Minnesota’s coach. The 39-year-old Lester is a former WMU player and was Purdue’s quarterbacks coach this past season.

WMU announced the move Friday night on Twitter.

The Broncos are coming off a tremendous season in which they went undefeated until they lost to Wisconsin in the Cotton Bowl. It was the culmination of the program’s rise under Fleck, who earned plenty of national attention for his enthusiasm and “row the boat” mantra.

Now the team not only has to replace Fleck, but it also loses its dynamic quarterback-receiver tandem of Zach Terrell and Corey Davis. They’re both seniors.

Fleck was 32 when WMU hired him. Lester isn’t that young, but this is his first Division I head coaching job. Prior to joining Purdue before last season, he was the quarterbacks coach at Syracuse from 2013-15, serving as offensive coordinator his last two seasons there.

He was the head coach at Division II Elmhurst College in Illinois from 2008-12.

Lester’s ties to WMU include a stint as an assistant about a decade ago and an impressive playing career as a quarterback from 1996-99. Lester threw for 11,299 yards and 89 touchdowns.

Lester played for the Chicago Enforcers of the XFL in 2001 and also spent time in arena football. He was inducted into WMU’s athletic Hall of Fame in 2011.

The school says Lester will meet with reporters Saturday.

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