TAYLOR COUNTY—E. Roy Lester, a former three-sport athlete at West Virginia University during the 1940’s, died Sunday morning in Gaithersburg, MD, according to his family.
Lester played football for the Mountaineers from 1946-49, baseball from 1947-48, and basketball over the course of three seasons, seeing action in 21 games as a backup center.
Making his way to Morgantown from Spencer, WV, Lester was an end on the Mountaineer football team for coaches Bill Kern and Dudley DeGroot, helping WVU to a nine-win season in 1948 that included a victory over Texas Western (now UTEP), in the 1949 Sun Bowl El Paso, Texas.
He had two receptions for 30 yards in the Mountaineers 21-12 victory over the Miners and led the team in receiving with 259 yards that season.
On the diamond, Lester batted .339 during his final two seasons as an outfielder on the baseball team under coaches Charley Hockenberry and Steve Harrick and helped the Mountaineers to their first-ever NCAA Tournament berth in 1948.
After graduating from WVU with a degree in Political Science, Lester tried his hand with the Philadelphia Eagles’ farm team (the Patterson Panthers), in the now-defunct AFL. He then began his coaching career in 1950 at Walton High School in Walton, West Virginia for two seasons, before taking a position at Allegany High School in Cumberland, Maryland, just over an hour away from Morgantown.
He then spent three years as a tight ends coach at Maryland and later returned to the university as the Terrapins’ head coach from 1969-71.
Between his stints at Allegany and Maryland, Lester was considered one of the most successful high school football coaches in Maryland history at Montgomery High in Rockville, where he accumulated a record of 86-10-1 that included six undefeated seasons during his tenure there.
Lester was inducted into the West Virginia University Sports Hall of Fame in 2008 and at 96 years of age, he was considered one of the oldest living Mountaineer football alums at the time of his death.