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
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 Ñ Towson State at Baltimore, Delaware State at
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.
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
Ñ Penn State, the Phillies, the 76ers.