Making a Quick Transition

He left Western Michigan with the fifth best career passing yards in NCAA history and was seventh in career touchdowns. Tim Lester set numerous school records, most of which still stand today, and has his Jersey on public display as one of the Bronco greats. Now with five years of coaching experience under his belt Lester returns to his old stomping grounds to coach and recruit the position he once held.

New Bronco head coach Bill Cubit, who was offensive coordinator when Tim Lester played for WMU, was hired on December 7, 2004. Within a week Lester had been one of Cubits first hires, along with former Bronco Jake Moreland at tight end, and the transition began.

That transition was going from being "the big chief" as Lester put it referring to being head coach at division 2 Saint Joseph's College last season, to being one of many position coaches at the much more high profile division 1A level.

"It's been interesting," Lester said. "It's very exciting, getting a chance to work for coach [Cubit]. The reason I'm in coaching is because of him.

"It's been an adjustment: different position, different town, different everything with a different level of exposure. It's a lot of work."

And having been a head coach last season Lester has a newfound respect for the job that coach Cubit has to do on a daily basis. "I try to go past his office everyday and ask if he needs anything because I know he probably doesn't lunch, I never did."

The transition to WMU had to be a quick one for Lester as the college football world was already deep into recruiting season and the Broncos had some catching up to do. "Some of these guys left their old job and went straight out recruiting before they even came to the office for the first time," said Cubit.

The transition was successful for Lester as he was responsible for helping to land some of the Broncos most prized recruits. Quarterbacks Tim Hiller (Orrville, OH) and Caleb Clark (Calgary, Alberta) along with Matt Stevens (TE) and Grant Nemeth (DL) who are both from Lester's own high school, Warrenville South in Wheaton, IL all came in part because of Lester.

The WMU staff did have one glaring stat to overcome when it came to landing recruits… 1-10, last fall's record. "If a kid asks you about our record last year you tell them we were 1-10. We've had a coaching change and our kids are working hard and we're going to turn this sucker around," said Lester.

"Any time there's a coaching change even you were 9-1 you're just trying to get them to like the school and like the program that they're buying into because coach Cubit is bringing in a new program, his program. They're not buying into the old record, the old program good or bad… they're buying into coach Cubit. Kids understand that, they're smart."

All through the process Lester kept a positive outlook towards potential recruits. "One thing you'll learn about [Cubit] when it comes to recruiting against other schools is we never focus on them," said Lester. "A lot of schools try to focus on us or try to downplay other schools. But when I'm out there I have nothing but respect for the other schools and I tell kids ‘that's a great school, but let me tell you about our school.' A lot of kids like that because they get sick of other recruiters talking down the competition."

And now that the bulk of recruiting is done the next task at hand for the quarterback coach is all about learning. "I know their names. I know who they are and they seem like great kids," said Lester about Ryan Cubit, Robbie Haas and Alex Engram, the returning quarterbacks. "I wish I could tell you more… Since I got the job in early December I think I've been in the office [on a weekday] maybe four days.

"I met them each maybe once so I don't know much. This week has been the most relaxing week of my life after six weeks of being on the road. I'm excited to get into the Xs and Os and the football part of it. It'll be fun."

Coach Lester is looking forward to watching game and practice film from last season so he has a chance to get to know what each quarterback is capable of. "I've got to find the tools to get each one of them better," said Lester. "You have to get to know them before you can start coaching them so I'm looking forward to spending more time with the guys we have here."

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