Craig Knoth
Craig Knoth
Title: Director of Recruiting/Player Development
Phone: 928-523-1900

• Begins his 11th season as an assistant coach at Northern Arizona University. Knoth works with the tight ends and fullbacks, while coordinating the recruiting efforts for the football program.

• Coached RJ Rickert to his third All-Big Sky honor in 2015. NAU’s offensive unit ranked 11th in the nation overall and seventh in scoring offense. The Lumberjacks averaged 39.3 points per game en route to a 5-0 undefeated season at home.

• In 2014, coached Nick Butier to First Team All-Big Sky honors as a fullback and Second Team honors as a specialist. Butier picked up All-America recognition by the Beyond Sports Network.

• Tight end Beau Gardner picked up All-Big Sky Second Team honors. The Mesa, Ariz. native signed a free agent contract with the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons in spring 2015.

• Coached Rickert to College Sports Madness Third Team All-American honors and First Team All-Big Sky honors in 2013. Butier earned Second Team All-Big Sky fullback accolades.

• In 2012, Knoth helped guide Jake Hess to All-Big Sky First Team honors while also being named to the Sports Network All-America Third Team. He was also a College Sports Journal Honorable Mention All-American. Hess received the David Couture Award as the Most Inspirational Player on the offensive unit at the team’s banquet. Hess was also a semifinalist for the 2012 William V. Campbell Trophy, an award that recognizes an individual as the best football scholar-athlete in the nation.

• Drew Emmanuel and Rickert earned 2012 All-Big Sky Honorable Mention nods.

• Coached starters Hess and Brian Riley for an offensive unit that ranked 14th in the nation and produced the Big Sky leaders in both rushing and passing efficiency in 2011. Riley earned All-Big Sky Honorable Mention honors and played in the Casino del Sol All-Star game to cap his career, while Hess was an All-Big Sky Second Team pick at fullback.

• In 2010, Knoth helped develop two-sport standout Nick Larson in his only season on the gridiron. Larson, a former basketball player, produced 14 catches for 117 and three touchdowns, the second-best total on the team, and earned All-Big Sky Honorable Mention accolades. Knoth also worked with Vinnie Paciulli, who earned the All-Big Sky Second Team selection at fullback in 2010.

• Mentored Shaun Fitzpatrick to three All-Big Sky honors. In 2006, Fitzpatrick was named to the first team. He picked up second team honors in 2007 and honorable mention accolades in 2009. He received Honorable Mention Sports Network All-America accolades, and was named to the 2009 Football Championship Subdivision Athletics Directors Association Academic All-Star Team.

• In 2008, redshirt freshman Brian Riley earned All-Big Sky Honorable Mention accolades.

• Prior to NAU, Knoth worked two seasons at Missouri Southern State University where he worked as a graduate assistant. He worked with the tight ends and assisted with the offensive line.

• At Missouri Southern State, Knoth was part of a staff that broke or tied more than 30 school offensive records. In 2004, Missouri Southern State set the school season record for passing yards (3,575 yards) and ranked second on the all-time list for total offense (4,983 yards) and scoring (342 points). They became the first team in MIAA conference history to record a 3,000-yard passer, 1,000-yard receiver and 1,000-yard rusher during the regular season.

• Coached Allen Barbre and Matt Stout to numerous All-MIAA accolades during his stint at Missouri Southern. Barbre, an honorable mention All-America selection, was a fourth round selection (119th overall) of the Green Bay Packers in the 2007 NFL Draft. 

• Was a four-year letterwinner and a three-year starter at Truman State University for head coach John Ware. He played on the offensive line as a guard starting every game - 33 consecutive. 

• A native of Cape Girardeau, Mo., Knoth graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business administration with concentrations in management and marketing, as well as a minor in public administration from Truman State University in 2004. He earned his master’s degree in business administration from Missouri State University in 2006. He was married in June, 2007 to the former Nikki Riess. They have two daughters, Zoie and Claire.

Coaching Accolades

All-Conference Honorees - Shaun Fitzpatrick (2006, 1st; 2007, 2nd), Brian Riley (2008, HM; 2011, HM), Nick Larson (2010, HM), Vinnie Paciulli (2010, 2nd), Jake Hess (2011, 2nd; 2012, 1st); RJ Rickert (2012, HM; 2013; 1st; 2015, 2nd), Nick Butier (2013, 2nd; 2014, 1st), Drew Emanuel (2013, HM), Beau Gardner (2014, 2nd) 

All-American Honorees - Shaun Fitzpatrick (2007), Jake Hess (2012), RJ Rickert (2013), Nick Butier (2014)




Tight Ends/Fullbacks/Recruiting

Born: July 19, 1981

College: Truman State University, 2004; Missouri State University, 2006      

Playing Experience: Truman State University, 2000-03

Family: Wife Nikki Riess, Daughters, Zoie and Claire  



2004-05 Missouri Southern State University
2006-Pres. Northern Arizona University, Recruiting Coordinator/Tight Ends/Fullbacks