NAU Souers

Northern Arizona's Lisa Campos, vice president for intercollegiate athletics, announces head football coach Jerome Souers (right) will not return to the team in 2018.

A day after Northern Arizona abruptly announced it would part ways with head coach Jerome Souers at the end of the 2017 season, little else was said by any of those involved.

With the Lumberjacks (0-2) on a bye this week, their regular practice schedule was adjusted to rest the team. Usually set to practice Tuesday through Thursday with a walk-through on Friday, Northern Arizona did not hold practice Tuesday afternoon and as a result had no regular media availability.

A request to interview Souers was declined by the university’s athletics communications department, with the head coach’s first availability since the announcement set as a part of Wednesday’s Big Sky Conference football coaches conference call.

Amidst the news of Souers’ departure after 20 years as the Lumberjacks’ head coach, updates on Northern Arizona’s trio of injured starters were also lacking.

Receiver Emmanuel Butler, defensive tackle Jalen Goss and cornerback Khalil Dorsey each left Saturday’s 38-20 loss to Western Illinois, Northern Arizona’s first defeat in a home opener since 1992.

The three will have the advantage of the bye week in order to try to return in time for Sept. 23’s Big Sky opener in San Luis Obispo against the Cal Poly Mustangs (0-3). Picked to finish third in the Big Sky by both the coaches and media, Northern Arizona’s conference schedule does not include any of the Big Sky’s three currently ranked schools.

Souers' impending departure leaves the fate of the rest of the team’s coaching staff in flux, with defensive coordinator Andy Thompson currently in his 13th year with the program, director of recruiting and player development Craig Knoth in his 12th, running backs coach Jimmy Beal in his eighth and defensive line coach Travis Baker in his seventh.


Cody Bashore serves as the beat writer for Northern Arizona University basketball and football in addition to covering high school sports around Flagstaff for the Arizona Daily Sun.

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