West Virginia University basketball legend Lester Rowe joined Mike Carey's women's staff in June 2011 as assistant coach.
Rowe was a part of WVU’s fourth consecutive NCAA appearance in the 2012-13 season. Closing out its inaugural season in the Big 12 Conference with a 17-14 overall record and a 9-9 mark in league play, WVU landed a No. 6 seed in its first-ever Big 12 Conference Tournament. Four Mountaineers added all-conference honors to their names as Christal Caldwell earned first team, Ayana Dunning closed out her career with an honorable mention accolade, Jess Harlee was named to the Big 12 All-Defensive Team and Bria Holmes landed a spot on the Big 12 All-Freshman Team.
In its inaugural season in the Big 12 Conference, WVU faced eight opponents, four twice, ranked in the top-50 RPI, defeating back-to-back top-25 Associated Press ranked teams en route to three total wins over ranked opponents, recorded seven road wins and trailed by 10 or more in three games, in which the Mountaineers rallied for a comeback win. Off the court, six Mountaineers were honored by the conference on the Academic All-Big 12 team, the most players of any team to earn the honor.
In his first season, Rowe assisted a young WVU squad to its third consecutive NCAA tournament and fourth in the last five seasons. The Mountaineers closed out the 2011-12 season in a tie for fourth place and earned a bye in the BIG EAST Championship.
For the first time in program history, WVU defeated three-straight top 25 teams, including the highest ranked opponent in program history as the Mountaineers took a 65-63 victory from No. 2 Notre Dame in front of a sold out crowd on national television. The win was WVU’s first ever in Notre Dame, Ind.
Three players earned all-conference honors as junior Asya Bussie, the 15th player in WVU history to reach 1,000 points and 500 rebounds, was named first team All-BIG EAST, sophomore Christal Caldwell earned All-BIG EAST honorable mention and Linda Stepney was named to the All-BIG EAST freshman team.
Rowe first reunited with the Mountaineer basketball program when he was hired as an assistant coach on Gale Catlett’s staff in September 1997. In addition to coaching, he assisted in on-campus recruiting, scouting and served as a player liaison in administrative matters. In his first season as an assistant, WVU won 24 games and advanced to the NCAA Sweet 16 in 1998.
Known to Mountaineer fans as “Lester Rowe from Buffalo”, he was a four-year starter and West Virginia went 90-23 and won three conference championships during Rowe’s playing career.
Rowe was named the Atlantic 10 tournament Most Valuable Player in 1984. He was twice named to the Atlantic 10 All-Tournament Team in 1983 and 1984. Rowe earned Atlantic 10 All-Conference Second Team honors in 1985 and earned Atlantic 10 Player of the Week honors three times during his career. As a freshman, he was named Eastern 8 Player of the Week and named to the Eastern 8 All-Freshman Team.
A member of the 1976-85 WVU all-time basketball team, Rowe played professional basketball for eight years in Argentina, the Philippines, Venezuela, France, Germany and the United States.
The Buffalo, N.Y., native earned a bachelor’s of science degree in physical education from West Virginia in 1985.
A current resident of Morgantown, Rowe was a commercial property manager and sales executive with Petroplus Lane, LLC. From 2005-10, Rowe played an integral role in West Virginia AAU Basketball as he served as the head coach of the West Virginia Hornets and assisted with the West Virginia Tornadoes and the West Virginia Blue Devils.
In 2014, Rowe was inducted into the WVU Sports Hall of Fame. He and his wife, Lisa, have two daughters, Monalisa and Monique.