Roy Lester, the former University of Maryland coach whose football roots in Montgomery County date back two decades, will return to the sidelines next fall as head coach at Magruder High School.
It will be the third county football post for Lester, whose last high school victory occurred in 1975 when he directed Paint Branch to the Maryland Class B state championship. His first area high school job was at Richard Montogomery. There he built a football dynasty that stretched from 1959 to 1969, before he moved on to. Maryland.
Lester, who has been a golf coach and driver's en instructor at Magruder since 1976, accepted the football position from Principal Robert Travers, sans fanfare.
The decision to fill the spot vacated by Jim DeMoss, who resigned last month partly for health reasons, came after little contemplation, according to Lester.
"I hand't really though about it before," Lester said yesterday from his Rockville home. "I never really anticipated coming back (to football). But I am conveniently close to school, and I decided if I'm going to be back there anyway, I may as well be coaching.
"I've missed it at times," he said. "I miss it more in August than any other time. I won't really be enthusiastic about it until I get started. I'm not going to worry about it for a while."
Other county coaches and players might begin worrying now. Lester's hard-work reputation is what made him the success story of Montgomery County football in the 1960s at Richard Montgomery.
In Lester's 10 years at RM, the Rockets racked up an 86-10-1 record, seven Montgomery County championships and six undefeated seasons. When Lester left the Rockville school to attempt to rebuild Maryland's sagging football program, Richard Montgomery was riding a 25-game victory streak. The mark reached an area-record 34 until RM was beaten, 6-0, by Wheaton in 1969.
At Maryland success in terms of victories and losses were few, and after three years and a 7-25 record, Lester was replaced by Jerry Claiborne.
Lester spent little time on the inactive list, taking the reins of Paint Branch's young football program in 1972 and building the Panthers into state finalists in 1974 and titlists in 1975.
Paint Branch compiled a 30-12-2 mark in Lester's four-year stint, but the Spencer, W. Va., native resigned in the summr of 1976 during a pay dispute between Montgomery County coaches and the county board of education. The feud was eventually resolved in favor of the coaches.
Lester, who now plays golf "every day that's good" and enjoys a parttime role as real estate salesman, said Travers had approached him once before concerning a job as assistant coach. "But other things came up," Lester recalled, and the offer was never seriously pursued.
In replacing DeMoss, a Lester assistant at Richard Montgomery for a few years, Lester insists few of his methods will change for his new players.
"They'll learn the system real quick," he predicted. "They'll get enough of it. I'll be putting it on the blackboard 100 times." He said he had not seen any Magruder games this fall.
The year before Lester was coach at Rocjard Montgomery, the Rockets were 3-6-1; before he took over at Paint Branch, the Panthers were 3-7; last season Magruder also posted a 3-7 mark. Lester, whose two youngest children attend Magruder, admitted he won't give up on the Colonels easy.
"I'll give it a fair try," said the 55-year old coach. "I won't have to retire for a long time. I'm just trying not to feel it right now."