Northern Arizona Lumberjacks part with football coach Chris Ball

Nov 20, 2023, 12:39 PM

Northern Arizona head football coach Chris Ball...

Northern Arizona coach Chris Ball talks to defensive back Morgan Vest (7) during the second half of the team's NCAA college football game against Arizona State, Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022, in Tempe, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)

The Northern Arizona Lumberjacks opted against renewing the contract of head football coach Chris Ball and will open a search to replace him, athletic director Mike Marlow said in a release Monday.

“A national search for NAU’s next head football coach will begin immediately. NAU athletic officials will not provide any further comment on the coaching search until the search is completed,” the release said.

Ball went 20-30 in five seasons leading Northern Arizona. The Lumberjacks went 5-6 this past year but only posted a winning season under Ball in 2020, the shortened pandemic year (3-2).

Historically, the best win in Ball’s tenure was likely a 21-19 victory against the Arizona Wildcats in 2021. Though it came against an Arizona team that at that point had lost 15 straight games, it was the Lumberjacks’ first victory against the Wildcats since 1932.

Ball joined NAU in 2019 after a run as the Memphis Tigers’ defensive coordinator (2016-18). Prior to that, he was defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach at Arizona State from (2012-15).

The Lumberjacks last made the postseason in 2017 under then-head coach Jerome Souers. They lost in the first round to San Diego.


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