Lester named Head Basketball Coach at Cincinnati Christian

Photo Courtesy CCU Athletics

Cincinnati Christian University has announced the hiring of Joshua Lester as the new Head Men’s Basketball Coach. 

Lester will succeed Cory Gardner, who is stepping down from his role as Head Men’s Basketball Coach but will remain in his current roles at CCU as Assistant Athletic Director of Compliance and the Head Softball Coach. 

Joshua Lester will enter his inaugural season as head coach for the CCU Men’s Basketball program for the 2019-2020 season. The Nashville, TN native arrived at CCU after serving as a Graduate Assistant at Belmont University for the past two seasons under legendary head coach, Rick Byrd. Following a brief period as an assistant coach on the Men’s Basketball coaching staff, Coach Lester will officially be assuming the role of head coach. 

“We are proud to be able to hire Joshua Lester as our men’s basketball head coach”, says Athletic Director John Taylor. “We see a lot of potential in Josh and we think his success in his past will continue at CCU for the years to come”. 

“It means the world to me to be the Head Coach here at CCU. I am very excited for this opportunity and beyond grateful to our athletic department for their firm belief in me and my vision for our basketball program” says Coach Lester. “Coming from a successful program like Belmont’s and seeing firsthand how winning cultures and traditions are cultivated from Coach Rick Byrd and his staff served as a great learning experience that I will always cherish. This is truly a dream come true. I am happy to be leading Eagle Nation and excited to build our own culture within the basketball program here at CCU. I also look forward to connecting with alumni and building support for our team and program. It’s a great time to be Eagle!” 

As a Graduate Assistant for the Bruins (2017-2019), Lester’s teams achieved exceptional levels of success which include recording a 51-15 record over two seasons, receiving an at-large bid to the 2019 NCAA Tournament, and capturing the school’s first-ever NCAA Tournament victory in program history.

Prior to his time on staff at Belmont University, he spent four seasons on their roster as a member of their Division 1 Men’s Basketball team (2013-2017). Lester’s teams reached post-season play every year, including an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2015 and three National Invitation Tournament (NIT) appearances in 2014, 2016, and 2017 respectively. 

Winners of the OVC Team Sportsmanship Award three out of his four years, Coach Lester’s teams put together an impressive 91-39 record in his four seasons. 

Lester graduated from Belmont University in 2017 with a Bachelor’s degree in Exercise Science and Marketing. He then went on to earn his Master’s degree in Sport Administration from Belmont in 2019. 


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