Greenwood Events
Thursday, September 23rd. 1999
 
Greenwood man is coach, teacher at Denton school

Al Lester, Greenwood resident and basketball coach at Wesleyan Christian School in Denton, is enthusiastic about his school's basketball program.
"This is only our second year of basketball varsity competition that we are going into, and already in our first year we made it to the semi-finals," Lester said.
Lester makes his home with his bride of about two years, the former Bobbi Collins, daughter of Bobby and Joann Collins of the Colvine Bison Farm east of Greenwood.
Asked if he cooks up and eats the tasty bison burgers and steaks for which his parents-in-law have gained renown, he makes it clear that while they both enjoy them, it's his wife who cooks them. He also made it clear that being in the family hasn't translated into free steaks and burgers.
Lester serves Christian Wesleyan as its high school physical director as well as coach. Although he played other sports in high school, his true love is basketball.
Lester is the son of Larry and Gail Lester of Chester, Pa. Graduating from Chester's Christian Academy in 1987, he went on to Washington College in Chestertown, N.J., on a basketball scholarship. After "blowing out" his knee in his junior year and losing that season, he took an extra year at Washington, giving him a total of five years there. His return to basketball came only after a total reconstruction of his knee.
Lester credits his parents for being very supportive of his basketball playing in high school and college and the budding career he is building for Bobbi and himself with its center focused on basketball. " When I was in college they went to every game," Lester said. "No matter where the game was Towson State at Baltimore, Delaware State at Dover, wherever."
His parents, both school teachers, always fit his game schedule into theirs. In his senior year in college he was voted Most Valuable Player. In addition he played in two different Christmas tournaments. His goal scoring was impressive: 1,290 points in high school and 1,100 in college. In addition, in his senior year in college he was selected for the All-Middle Atlantic Conference team.
Following his graduation from Washington College in 1992 with a bachelor's in business management, he was recruited to play a three-month season in the fall of 1993 by a Christian group called Athletes in Action.
As Lester explains it, Athletes in Action has teams all over the world. The team Lester played with was in the Philippines where he says, "people love basketball. As many as 10,000 would show up for a game."
Lester explains that Athletes in Action uses basketball as a tool to reach people with Christ. They would give testimony at half-time.
After his three months in the Philippines he made his first move toward coaching by accepting an assistant coaching spot with his high school alma mater. He spent the years 1993, 1994 and 1995 there while earning his master's degree.
For the 1996-1997 school year he moved up to the head coaching slot. Following that, Lester accepted a position at Denton's Christian Wesleyan where he is now in his third year. In addition to his coaching, he teaches high school physical education and serves as athletic director.
He said that Christian Wesleyan has an enrollment in grades 7-12 of 80 students. Grades K-6 with 280 students is considerably larger. "We are trying to develop extra-curricular activities so that students will want to stay," he said. "We have a good curriculum. Having a good sports program, drama, choir, band and yearbook will encourage students to stay through their high school years."
Presently the school plant consists of a building for 7-12 and two other buildings. Lester says the school is in the process of starting the construction of a new building to be completed over the next two years. With 15 classrooms, it will also house a kitchen, locker room and gymnasium doubling as cafeteria.
Lester speaks highly of Merv Daugherty, Christian Wesleyan's new principal this year. Daugherty was previously principal at North Caroline High School, Denton. "He is going to take this school to a new level," he said. "In the first two weeks of school you could see how teachers and parents have responded to him. He is capable of the leadership needed to take us to a big school environment."
Wesleyan Christian is a member of the Delaware Valley Christian Athletic Association. Among the schools it plays are Greenwood Mennonite, Seaford Christian, Christian Tabernacle in Lincoln, Laurel's Epworth and others in Maryland including Christian schools in Salisbury.
Asked about his interests, Lester admits that growing up in Chester colored his interests. He roots for all the Philadelphia area teams Penn State, the Phillies, the 76ers.