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NAU’s Jerome Souers no longer head coach, accepts new role

Northern Arizona head coach Jerome Souers reacts to a penalty called against his team while playing Montana in an NCAA college football game Saturday, Nov. 4, 2017, in Missoula, Mont. (AP Photo/Patrick Record)

After 21 years in Flagstaff, the leader of Northern Arizona University’s football program is done as head coach and will take a new position that focuses on fundraising and Native American initiatives.

According to an announcement from the school, NAU head coach Jerome Souers met with the school’s vice president for intercollegiate athletics Mike Marlow and agreed to accept the new role. The Arizona Daily Sun reported earlier in the day that in that meeting, Souers delivered the news that he was retiring.

Souers has been a staple of the Lumberjacks’ football program for over two decades and finished his career with a winning record of 123-114. The 60-year-old reached the postseason five times in the Big Sky Conference, including a trip to the I-AA Playoffs Quarterfinal in 2003.

In 1999, Souers led the Lumberjacks to a 4-8 record and claimed the Big Sky Coach of the Year award.

Souers’ decision came fresh off of the Lumberjacks’ 31-16 upset victory against the North Dakota Fighting Hawks on Saturday.

Their running back tandem of Cory Young and Aramis Aldredge combined for 129 yards on 26 carries in the contest. Each of the running backs came away with a touchdown and quarterback Brandon Porter added 44 rushing yards of his own.

The Lumberjacks held UND scoreless until the 5:37 mark in the second quarter in what was one of their best defensive performances of the year. Corner back Maurice Davison returned an errant pass by North Dakota quarterback Nate Ketteringham 51 yards for a touchdown late in the third quarter.

NAU ended Souers’ coaching career by snapping a three-game losing streak that effectively ended their chances at reaching the postseason.

There’s no telling who the athletic department will select as Souers’ successor but they’ll have some big shoes to fill.