Former Colonels great Tim Lester has passed away at the age of 52 the University announced Monday.
Tim cane to EKU from Miami Florida in 1987 but missed his first season due to injury but in 1988 he helped he finished 2nd in the OVC in rushing with 1239 yards. His teammate Elroy Harris led the league in rushing that season. Lester ranked 10th in the country in rushing as freshman. Another injury would limit Lester to only two games in 1988 but as a junior he ran for over 1000 yards including a -career high 291 against Tennessee Tech. He would once again finish as the 2nd leading rusher in the Valley and 17th best in the country. His senior season he once again eclipsed the 100 yard mark and scored 17 touchdowns.
For his EKU career he rushed 3640 yards and scored 37 touchdowns. He left Richmond as the 6th leading rusher in school history. Tim was honored as an All OVC running back from 1988-1991 and was inducted into the EKU Hall Of Fame in 2011.
Lester was drafted in the 10th round of the NFL draft by the Los Angeles Ram but it would be in Pittsburgh where he would make his mark and leave a legacy as the best fullback in the league. He would join the Steelers in 1995 where he would be nicknamed the “bus driver”. He was the lead blocker for future hall of famer Jerome Bettis who would become the 8th leading rusher in NFL history. Bettis would credit Lester for his success as one of best blocking fullbacks he had played with. Not only would Lester block for Bettis in his final season he would be lead blocker for Emmitt Smith as a Cowboy in 1999.
From his own website TimLester.org Lester would say His biggest accomplishment is being a dad. He is a dedicated father and husband that enjoys traveling around the country helping others through his inspirational story. Tim understands that “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:13. After his playing career, Lester founded the New Found Life Youth Football in the Atlanta suburb of Milton, Georgia, where the youth team became known as the Milton Steelers.
Tributes are pouring in from former teammates on Twitter.
Willie Anderson wrote “Rest In Peace My Friend Tim Lester great Full back for @steelers . My heart goes out to his wife and two young sons. This was a good man who helped a lot of kids here in Atlanta. Man of GOD. Covid is still here people! #SteelerNation
Milton High School where Lester played and coached wrote “Please keep the Lester family in your prayers. Tim Lester, founder of the Milton Steelers & former Milton HS Running Back Coach, has passed away. Tim loved football and taught many of our young boys how to play the game. He was an asset to our community & will be greatly missed.”