WMU coach Tim Lester tests positive for COVID-19, will miss Saturday's game

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Coming off arguably his biggest win as head coach at Western Michigan, Tim Lester will miss his team's next game after testing positive for COVID-19.

Lester made the announcement Tuesday morning, adding that he is fully vaccinated and is "feeling OK." Lester tested positive Monday, two days after WMU stunned Pittsburgh, 44-41, on the road.

"I could not be more proud of the way our team responded to adversity on the field on Saturday, and I look forward to overcoming the adversity from this positive test result," Lester said in a statement.

"Adversity is a funny thing because nobody wants it, but overcoming it is the only way to grow."

Western Michigan head coach Tim Lester on the sidelines during his team's win over Pittsburgh.

Western Michigan (2-1) plays host to defending Mountain West Conference champ San Jose State at 2 Saturday.

It wasn't immediately decided who will serve as interim coach in Lester's absence. It'll either be defensive coordinator Lou Esposito or special-teams coordinator Joe Palcic, Lester told The Detroit News on Tuesday.

Lester will be quarantined until next week, but will participate in practices and meetings via Zoom.

"I have full faith in our staff and players, and am looking forward to quickly getting back in the office next week as we enter conference play," Lester said.

Lester, 44, is in his fifth season as head coach of his alma mater. The Broncos were picked to finish third in the MAC West Division this season. An explosive offense has some expecting an even higher finish. Lester is 26-21 during his WMU tenure, with two bowl appearances and without a losing season.

He's the second state MAC coach to miss a game this season. Central Michigan coach Jim McElwain missed his team's opener at Missouri after having surgery for appendicitis.

We're running a new-subscriber special. Support local journalism, and subscribe here.

tpaul@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tonypaul1984