Western Michigan football head coach Tim Lester was named to the American Football Coaches Association Board of Trustees in June.
Lester was nominated by his peers to be the Mid-American Conference representative after Lance Leipold accepted the head coaching job at Kansas, leaving his job as the head coach at Buffalo and the MAC representative seat empty.
“The first week or two of your life (after being hired as a head coach), like you don’t sleep, I mean there’s so much work to do,” Lester said. “When it was about three days into Lance Leipold’s reign at Kansas, I looked down at my phone and it was Lance.”
Lester said he was in a meeting, but he had to take the call because he knew how busy Leipold must be. He said Leipold “wanted to know if I was interested” in taking the spot on the AFCA board for the conference.
The AFCA Board of Trustees is one of several groups that proposed rule changes pass through before they can be adopted by the NCAA. Lester said he hopes to make a positive impact on the game of football by serving on the board.
“There’s many layers to getting anything passed through,” Lester said. “Between the NCAA, the (Division I) Council, the AFCA board, the (NCAA Football) Oversight Committee. It’s like that on purpose, there’s a lot of boards that things have to pass through before they become legislation… It’s really the coaches’ way to be involved.”
Lester said the process of being named to the board happened by a poll of coaches in the MAC, with AFCA Executive Director Todd Berry sending out a form to each head coach in the conference asking to name a coach to represent them. Lester said he did not want to vote for himself but it “meant a lot” that he was selected.
“I’ve been around the league longer than a lot of coaches at this point, you know, coaches come and go in our league,” Lester said. “I tried to take more of an active role in checking in with people to see what they were doing and how they were doing. I think that might have been one of the reasons.”
Lester said he was excited to “be in the room” to help make decisions with well-renowned coaches from around the country, including AFCA President Pat Fitzgerald of Northwestern, third vice-president David Cutcliffe at Duke, and other board members David Shaw at Stanford and Ken Niumatalolo of the US Naval Academy.
“To be part of that process of giving back to the game that has given me so much and hopefully making a positive impact in some of the decisions that are going to have to be made on how we move forward in this changed world,” Lester said. “We might need all of the intelligence in the room to get through it, but we will.”