Roy Lester, who sandwiched a disappointing three-year stint as Maryland’s football coach between a highly successful career at the high school level, has died. He was 96.

Lester’s daughter, Amy Lester Greco, said on a Facebook post that her father died Sunday in Rockville, Maryland, due to complications from the new coronavirus.

“How blessed I am to have been his only daughter,” she wrote. “I am not a perfect person but everything good about me came from this beautiful man.”

After a 10-year run at Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville during which the Rockets went unbeaten six times and had an 86-10-1 record, Lester was hired in 1968 to coach at Maryland. He inherited a program that won only two of 19 games over the previous two years.

Lester guided the Terrapins to a 3-7 record in his first year and went 2-9 in each of the next two seasons before being fired. He was followed by Jerry Claiborne, who led Maryland to seven bowl games over 10 seasons.

In a Twitter post, current Maryland coach Michael Locksley said of Lester: “He came up the ranks as a high school coach and took over during a tumultuous time. He laid the solid foundation for the Claiborne era.”

Lester returned to high school coaching in 1972 and won three state championships over the next 15 years while coaching at Paint Branch and Magruder.

When he retired in 1993, Lester had won 260 games at the high school level, a far contrast from his 7-25 career record at Maryland.

Lester grew up in Spencer, West Virginia, and attended college at West Virginia University, where he lettered in football, basketball and baseball. He graduated in 1949 with a degree in political science.

He began his coaching career in 1950 at Walton High School in West Virginia. After two years there, Lester moved on to Allegany High School in Cumberland, Maryland. He was an assistant coach at Maryland for three years before taking over at Richard Montgomery.

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