Western Michigan has fired coach Tim Lester, the school announced Monday.
The decision comes after Lester went 5-7 this season, his first losing season in six years as head coach.
Lester went a respectable 37-32 over six seasons and 26-20 in MAC play. During those six years, Western Michigan did not appear in the conference title game or win the MAC West.
Lester had three years remaining on his contract, and the school is expected to pay him $500,000.
Western Michigan is one of the higher-resourced jobs in the MAC, with one of the top salary pools for head coach and for assistant coaches. Sources told ESPN that the university had bigger ambitions and wanted to consistently compete at the top of the MAC West.
Lester took over for P.J. Fleck, who led Western Michigan to an undefeated regular season and the Cotton Bowl during the 2016 season. Since Lester took over, Western Michigan has appeared in three bowl games and won one of them. Lester's best year came in 2021, when Western Michigan won eight games and won the Quick Lane Bowl.
Western Michigan plans to hire a search firm and will conduct a national search, per sources. The school is seeking a profile of a high-energy coach who is a dynamic recruiter and has experienced success at multiple levels.
Lester is a former quarterback at Western Michigan and has extensive experience as a quarterbacks coach, offensive coordinator and playcaller. He's been the offensive coordinator at Syracuse and the quarterbacks coach at Purdue and as an assistant at Western Michigan. He also has been a successful Division II and Division III head coach.