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Western Michigan rewards head football coach Tim Lester with two-year extension

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Things appear to going just smoothly for P.J. Fleck and his successor at Western Michigan, Tim Lester.

Last week, Fleck received a one-year contract extension through 2023 after leading Minnesota to a bowl game in his second season on the job.

Head coach Tim Lester received a two-year contract extension Thursday from Western Michigan.

And on Thursday afternoon, Western Michigan announced a two-year extension for Lester, also through 2023, after he, too, led his team to a bowl game. The Broncos square off against BYU on Friday in the Potato Bowl in Boise, Idaho.

Lester doesn't receive any additional compensation. His base salary will remain at $800,000 a year, second in the Mid-American Conference behind Toledo's Jason Candle ($1.125 million). His bonus structures also remain the same.

More: Western Michigan football coach Tim Lester finds his voice in second season

The buyout amounts have been adjusted, starting at $600,000 early in the current length of the contract and decreasing with each year.

"We've had two years of watching him develop as a head coach, and his relationships with the student-athletes," Western athletic director Kathy Beauregard said over the phone Thursday from Boise.

"His leadership and the foundation of the program has really demonstrated and confirms the support for his extension."

Beauregard cited Lester's two seasons of bowl-eligibility — the Broncos, at 6-6, missed out last year, his first year, but made it this year at 7-5 — as well as landing the top-ranked recruiting classes in the MAC each of his two seasons.

Lester, 41, is a former star quarterback at Western, starting all four years from 1996-99.

“Western Michigan is home to me and this has always been my dream job,” Lester said in a statement. “Our staff is committed to this program, winning championships, and continuing to move this program forward."

In his two seasons, Western boasts three NFL Draft picks, two All-Americans and 19 All-MAC selections. This year, Western had a program-record and league-best 20 players earned Academic All-MAC.

Lestern took over for Fleck, 38, who left Western after leading the Broncos to the New Year's Six Cotton Bowl. Minnesota was 5-7 last season and was 6-6 this year, earning a bid to the Quick Lane Bowl at Ford Field in Detroit on Dec. 26 against Georgia Tech.


Twitter: @tonypaul1984