Chart: Tim Lester completes coaching staff at Western Michigan

Posted by: Chris Vannini on Wednesday January 25, 2017

Tim Lester has completed his staff at Western Michigan.

WMU announced the full staff on Wednesday, which includes many coaches with WMU ties. It was a quick turnaround, with Lester landing the job in mid-January, but he got everyone in place in less than two weeks and ahead of Signing Day.

The potential addition of a 10th assistant could change things, but here is the 2017 WMU staff:

Lester retained two coaches from the previous staff in linebackers coach David Duggan and tight ends / tackles coach Bill Kenney. Duggan has been on staff since 2016, and Kenney since 2013.

Several other coaches have ties to WMU. Co-offensive line coach Jake Moreland is a former WMU player and coach, alongside Lester in both roles. He coached tight ends in Kalamazoo from 2004-12 and worked with Lester at Syracuse in 2015. He spent four of the last five years at Air Force.

Defensive coordinator Tim Daoust coached at WMU from 2006-09 (one year with Lester) and for three years at Syracuse with Lester from 2013-15. He spent 2016 at Ball State in his first defensive coordinator role.

Co-defensive coordinator / defensive line coach Lou Esposito previously coached the line at WMU from 2010-12. He later served as defensive coordinator at Division II Ferris State (MI) and was the first head coach in the history of the Davenport (MI) program, going 6-5 in the first season.

Among coaches without WMU ties, offensive coordinator  / quarterbacks coach Kevin Johns joins the staff after six years as an offensive coordinator at Indiana. He worked with both quarterbacks and wide receivers there after seven years at Northwestern.

Wide receivers coach Ashton Aikens spent the last three years at Southern Illinois. Like Johns, Aikens also worked at Northwestern. Keep in mind that WMU athletic director Kathy Beauregard consulted with Northwestern AD Jim Phillips in her search.

Running backs coach Eric Evans comes to WMU after three years as the offensive coordinator at Dayton. He previously coached at UAB, where he helped develop RB Jordan Howard as a freshman.

Defensive backs coach Cory Sanders worked under Tim Lester at Division III Elmhurst. He has also worked as defensive coordinator at West Florida and head coach at St. Joseph’s College.

The strength and conditioning program will be led by head strength coach Grant Geib and assistant Gavin Roberts, both of whom worked at Purdue with Lester in 2016.

Lester also hired former Syracuse director of football operations Drew Robinson (director of football operations) and Allegheny offensive coordinator Kyle Derickson (director of player personnel).

Lester inherits a 13-win team that will returns most of the two-deep, but without an All-MAC QB in Zach Terrell and All-American WR in Corey Davis. His first two games as WMU head coach next fall will be at USC and at Michigan State. 

The addition of a 10th assistant could change things, but keep track of new FBS staffs here.

Chris Vannini is in his fifth year with and serves as its managing editor. He has previously written for the Detroit Free Press, The Oakland Press, The State News,, 247Sports and SB Nation.  A graduate of Michigan State University, Chris now lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  Be sure to follow @coachingsearch and send emails to

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