2003 Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Finalist
1999 Big Sky Conference Coach of the Year
• Head coach Jerome Souers enters his 19th season with Northern Arizona University, after producing the top freshman in the FCS last season with the emergence of quarterback Case Cookus.
• In 2015, NAU positioned itself for a run at the conference crown in the final game, but it came up just short finishing 7-4, 5-3 in Big Sky play and just narrowly missing a spot in the FCS Playoffs.
• With a new offensive scheme in place, Souers became the Big Sky’s all-time leader in conference wins with 72. The Lumberjacks averaged 50.8 points per game at home, never scored less than 41 points, and went undefeated at the Walkup Skydome in regular season play for the second time in three years.
• NAU had four players earn All-American accolades, while 14 players earned a total of 15 All-Big Sky honors. The Lumberjacks had six first team selections, while Cookus went on to become the FCS STATS Freshman Player of the Year and the Jerry Rice Award winner. Cookus finished fifth in national offensive player of the year voting, as he was the only freshman on the final ballot.
• In Souers’ 17th season with the Lumberjacks, he earned career win No. 100 on November 8, 2014 in a 23-21 defeat over UC Davis at home. Souers became the second coach in Big Sky history to amass 100 victories while coaching in the league.
• Souers, the longest tenured football coach in the history of NAU Football, became the 15th active FCS coach to win 100 games at his current institution.
• During his 18-year tenure, Souers has coached 167 student-athletes to all-conference honors a combined 271 times with 55 first-team selections and 82 All-American accolades.
• In the classroom, the football program has produced the Golden Eagle Scholar Athlete of the Year eight times (Blair Boynton, Eric Damko, Steve Gomez, Mark Gould, Paul Ernster, Jeff Wheeler, Jake Hess and Austin Hasquet). Overall, the program has earned 163 Big Sky All-Academic honors over the last 18 seasons with seven Academic All-Americans.
• In 2014, the ‘Jacks finished with a 7-5 overall record, including a nine-game regular season home win streak dating back to the start of the 2013 season. NAU went 5-3 in league play. The Lumberjacks’ four-game win streak saw NAU defeat No. 2 Eastern Washington in a thrilling last second 28-27 victory in front of 9,699 fans. The win over the Eagles was the first in the Walkup Skydome over a team ranked higher than ninth. NAU’s largest crowd of the season saw 11,545 fans pile in the Walkup Skydome as the ‘Jacks took down Cal Poly 38-35 in another down to the wire win. Two players received All-American honors and 15 players earned a sum of 17 All-Big Sky accolades in 2015. Off the field, Austin Hasquet became NAU’s first National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete, and the first football player to be a two-time First Team Academic All-American.
• The 2013 season saw NAU post a 7-1 league record to finish second in the Big Sky (the highest finish since 2003), and a 9-3 overall record. The Lumberjacks earned an at-large bid to the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Playoffs for the first time since 2003. Four players earned a total of seven All-American honors, while 19 Lumberjacks earned Big Sky All-Conference accolades. NAU finished the regular season undefeated at home with a 5-0 record. The ‘Jacks ranked as high as No. 8 during the season and finished ranked No. 15 in the final polls. NAU also led the FCS in defensive touchdowns. Souers was a recipient of the Johnnie L. Cochran, Jr., Salute to Excellence Award.
• Souers and his team posted an 8-3 overall record in 2012, the best performance since the 2003 season. The record includes tying a school record eight consecutive wins which was sparked by a 17-14 win at UNLV. Included in the win streak was a 28-24 defeat over No. 14 Montana. The win snapped a 14-game losing streak to the Grizzlies and propelled NAU into the top 25 poll. The Lumberjacks had 22 players earn All-Big Sky honors, and three receive All-American accolades. Senior Austin Shanks was named the College Football Performance Awards FCS Punt Returner of the Year.
• In 2006, Jason Murrietta had a stellar senior season highlighted by a runner-up finish for the Walter Payton Award, All-America honors and his second Big Sky Conference Offensive Player of the Year Award. He threw for 2,827 yards with a 65.0 completion percentage and a school-record 34 touchdowns, leading the Big Sky in passing efficiency (168.2) and total offense (243.1), while ranking fifth and 11th nationally.
• The 2003 season saw Souers become a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Award, an award presented by The Sports Network to the top head coach in I-AA football. Souers led the Lumberjacks to a record-breaking NCAA I-AA Quarterfinal appearance in 2003, and its first Big Sky Conference title since 1978.
• Behind the play of true freshman Big Sky Offensive Player of the Year Jason Murrietta, the Lumberjacks upset top-seeded McNeese State on the road and played host to the first home playoff game since 1996 with a quarterfinal appearance against Florida Atlantic. NAU finished ranked 10th in the national polls as Souers’ players were honored on and off the field for their performances. Eighteen players were recognized with All-Big Sky honors highlighted by first-team All-America accolades for punter Mark Gould, who was recognized by five different organizations. Gould led the accolades off the field, too. He was a CoSIDA Academic All-America selection for the second consecutive season garnering second team honors in 2002 and first team accolades in 2003. In 2003, NAU led the nation with five CoSIDA Academic All-District selections.
• In 2001, the Lumberjacks posted one of the nation’s most improved records, recording an 8-4 mark to tie for second place in the Big Sky Conference. NAU earned a berth in the I-AA playoffs for the second time in school history before dropping a 34-31 decision at Sam Houston State in the first round.
• Fifteen student-athletes were recognized with 2001 All-Big Sky Conference honors. All-Big Sky First Team selections linebacker Keith O’Neil signed as a free agent with the Dallas Cowboys and won a Super Bowl title with the Indianapolis Colts in his fourth year in the NFL. Senior tackle Eric Damko was named to the Verizon Academic All-America squad for the second consecutive season.
• Souers was named the 1999 Big Sky Conference Coach of the Year in his second season with the Lumberjacks.
• Souers showed his winning touch from the start in January 1998 when he took over a program in limbo, becoming the first NAU coach since Dwain Painter in 1979 to begin his career with a winning record.
• Despite dressing only 44 players for his first spring practice, including walk-ons, Souers led the Lumberjacks to a winning season. Highlights from Souers’ first season at NAU included the Lumberjacks’ first shutout of a Division I opponent (NAU 9, Cal Poly 0) in 31 games, two near road victories against league title contenders Eastern Washington and Montana State and a season-ending two-game winning streak.
• Souers arrived in Flagstaff after spending 12 years at Montana with a proven track record. His last eight seasons in Missoula he served as defensive coordinator. During his stay with the Grizzlies, Montana was transformed from a Big Sky also-ran into a perennial league and national title contender. Souers’ tenure in Missoula produced 12 straight winning seasons, seven playoff berths, four appearances in the national semifinals, a national runner-up finish (1996) and a national title (1995). Montana won three Big Sky titles during that span.
• The peak years during Souers’ stay at Montana came from 1993 to 1996. During that period, the Grizzlies made four straight playoff appearances, played in three semifinals and two national title games. The 1995 squad won the national title and the 1996 team was the NCAA runner-up. The four-year record for Montana during that time was 48-8.
• In 1996, when head coach Mick Dennehy was sidelined after undergoing major surgery, Souers stepped in as head coach and led the Grizzlies to victories over Cal State Northridge and Portland State.
• During Souers’ nine years as defensive coordinator at Montana, the Grizzlies twice ranked among the nation’s top-10 in rushing defense, finishing third in the country in that category in 1992. His last unit in Missoula led the Big Sky Conference in scoring defense.
• During the national title run, Souers’ defense became the first in NCAA history to post consecutive playoff shutouts (Eastern Kentucky and Georgia Southern).
• He coached six All-America defensive backs at Montana, including future NFL stars Tim Hauck of the Seattle Seahawks and Blaine McElmurry of the Green Bay Packers.
• In 1989, Souers added defensive coordinator to his duties and the Grizzlies posted an 11-2 record with an appearance in the national semifinals. Montana also tied a national interception record in one game with 10 picks vs. Boise State. A year later, the Grizzlies opened the 1990 campaign with a 22-15 road win at Oregon State.
• A hint of things to come came in 1988 when the Grizzlies went 8-4 and led the Big Sky Conference in all defensive categories.
• In 1984 he made his foray into the collegiate ranks, joining the staff at Western Washington where he coordinated the defense and coached the defensive backs. Souers then joined Don Read’s staff at then-Division II Portland State for one year as the running backs coach.
• He began his coaching career while still attending Oregon. Souers spent time on the staff at North Eugene High School and Williamette, working in the same area of the state where his father, Dwight, was a successful prep coach.
• Souers earned his degree in physical education in 1983 and upon graduation returned to the high-school ranks. He spent eight years coaching in Oregon high schools before making the move into college football.
• Jerome Souers was born on May 20 in Oregon. He attended North Eugene High School, along with former Phoenix Suns coach and current President of Basketball Operations for the Boston Celtics Danny Ainge.
• Souers has two daughters, Anna and Alaina.
Year Overall Conf./Finish
1998 6-5 (.545) 3-5 (.375)/t-7th
1999 4-8* (.333) 2-6* (.250)/t-6th
2000 3-8 (.272) 2-6 (.250)/t-7th
2001 8-4 (.667) 5-2 (.714)/t-2nd
2002 6-5 (.545) 3-4 (.428)/t-4th
2003 9-4 (.692) 5-2 (.714)/t-1st
2004 4-7 (.363) 3-4 (.428)/5th
2005 3-8 (.272) 1-6 (.142)/t-7th
2006 6-5 (.545) 5-3 (.625)/4th
2007 6-5 (.545) 5-3 (.625)/3rd
2008 6-5 (.545) 4-4 (.500)/5th
2009 5-6 (.454) 4-4 (.500)/t-5th
2010 6-5 (.545) 4-4 (.500)/6th
2011 4-7 (.363) 3-5 (.375)/6th
2012 8-3 (.727) 6-2 (.750)/4th
2013 9-3 (.750) 7-1 (.875)/2nd
2014 7-5 (.583) 5-3 (.625)/5th
2015 7-4 (.636) 5-3 (.625)/T-4th
Total 107-97 (.525) 72-67 (.518)
* Includes four forfeits