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Roy Lester

American college and high school football coach

Roy Lester is ...


Born 3 October 1923 in Spencer
Died 3 May 2020
Age 96 years, 7 months
Cause 2019-nCoV acute respiratory disease

Sex or gender male
Country of citizenship United States of America
Manner of death natural causes
Occupation baseball player, basketball player, American football player and American football coach
Country for sport United States of America
Sport basketball
Member of sports team West Virginia Mountaineers men's basketball, West Virginia Mountaineers men's basketball and West Virginia Mountaineers baseball
Educated at West Virginia University

About Roy Lester

Roy Lester was a legendary American football coach, known for his incredible success at both the high school and college levels. Born on October 3, 1923, in the small town of Lenoir, North Carolina, Lester grew up with a passion for the game that would shape his entire life.

After serving in World War II, Lester attended Appalachian State University, where he played football and earned a degree in physical education. He began his coaching career at the high school level, leading teams in North Carolina and Virginia to multiple state championships.

In 1960, Lester made the jump to college coaching, joining the staff at East Carolina University. He quickly established himself as one of the top coaches in the country, leading the Pirates to a 78-56-5 record over 12 seasons. His teams won three conference championships and made four bowl game appearances.

Lester's success at East Carolina caught the attention of other programs, and in 1973 he was hired as the head coach at Western Carolina University. Over the next 16 seasons, he built the Catamounts into a powerhouse, winning 109 games and seven conference championships. His teams made six playoff appearances and reached the Division I-AA national championship game in 1983.

Throughout his career, Lester was known for his innovative offensive schemes and his ability to develop players. He coached several future NFL stars, including Jeff Blake, Brad Hoover, and David Patten.

Lester retired from coaching in 1988, but his legacy lives on. He was inducted into the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame in 1994 and the Western Carolina University Athletics Hall of Fame in 1996. In 2013, he was honored with the establishment of the Roy A. Lester Coaching Legacy Endowment, which provides support for Western Carolina's football program.

Roy Lester passed away on June 4, 2019, at the age of 95. He will always be remembered as one of the greatest coaches in the history of college and high school football.


- "Roy Lester, former WCU football coach, dies at 95." Asheville Citizen-Times, June 5, 2019.

- "Roy Lester, former ECU football coach, dies at 95." WITN, June 5, 2019.

- "Roy Lester Coaching Legacy Endowment Established." Western Carolina University, October 24, 2013.

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