Western Michigan Finds Its P.J. Fleck Successor

Western Michigan has hired Tim Lester to replace P.J. Fleck. The former Broncos quarterback takes over a program that won 13 games in 2016.

Western Michigan has found its new head football coach, and he has a tough act to follow.

Tim Lester was named the successor to P.J. Fleck on Friday night, about a week after Fleck left to take over at Minnesota. The 39-year-old Lester served as Purdue’s quarterbacks coach this past season after his gig as offensive coordinator for two seasons at Syracuse. Lester helped David Blough and the Boilermakers average 295 passing yards per game, which ranked No. 21 in the FBS, in 2016.

Broncos athletic director Kathy Beauregard made Lester the 16th coach to lead the program since its start in 1906.

The Illinois native was a four-year starting quarterback for Western Michigan from 1996-99, passing for 11,299 yards, which ranked him fourth in FBS history at the time, and 89 touchdowns. He set 17 program and MAC records before seeing action in the XFL, Arena Football League and Arena League 2. He is a member of the Western Michigan Athletics Hall of Fame and finished his career with 16 games in which he passed for 300 yards or more.

Lester served as WMU quarterbacks coach in 2005 and has had two stints as a head coach. He went 7-4 in one year at St. Joseph’s (IN), and he compiled a 33-19 mark in five years at Division III Elmhurst (IL).

Fleck led WMU to a 13-1 record this season and a spot in the Cotton Bowl, where it dropped a 24-16 decision to Wisconsin. Fleck was 30-22 in four years in Kalamazoo.

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