Jerome Souers

Northern Arizona coach Jerome Souers, left, shakes hands with Montana coach Bob Stitt after a game during the 2016 season.

File photo

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — Jerome Souers’ 20th year as the head football coach at Northern Arizona will be his last.

NAU athletic director Lisa Campos announced Monday that Souers will not be retained following the completion of this season. Campos said the decision to part ways with Souers was not made suddenly.

"I want to be very clear that this decision had nothing to do with the outcomes of the recent games," Campos said during a live-streamed news conference. "This is the result of many conversations Jerome and I have had over the last several months."

NAU lost its first two games of this season at Arizona and at home against Western Illinois. The Lumberjacks have a bye this week. 

"With nine games remaining on our schedule our goals remain the same," Souers said. "Everything we've worked so hard to achieve in the offseason will be put to the test, and (we have) the opportunity to still achieve them — a Big Sky championship."

Souers, who is in the final year of a four-year contract, took over as head coach at NAU in 1998. His overall career record is 112-105, and he is 76-71 in Big Sky Conference games. Both win totals are league records.

Souers was named Big Sky coach of the year in 1999 after leading NAU to a postseason berth. He was a finalist for the Eddie Robinson Coach of the Year Award in 2003 following a 9-4 season and a first-round playoff victory over McNeese State.

Souers spent 12 seasons as an assistant coach at Montana from 1986-97, including eight as defensive coordinator. Souers helped the Grizzlies reach the national championship game in 1995 and 1996. Montana beat Marshall for the 1995 crown. Marshall won a rematch in 1996.

Campos said NAU will conduct a national search to find Souers' replacement.