Northern Arizona's Jerome Souers stepping down after 2017 season

Longtime Northern Arizona coach Jerome Souers is stepping down after this season, though not because of the Lumberjacks' slow start to the season.

"We decided to make the decision today because it's important that we celebrate the 20 years Jerome has given to the institution, athletic department, student athletes and the community," Northern Arizona athletic director Lisa Campos said during a press conference on Monday.

The 59-year-old Souers is in his 20th season coaching the Lumberjacks, who are off to an 0-2 start this season. Souers is the winningest coach in Big Sky Conference history with 112 wins and has coached 84 FCS All-Americans.

Souers led the Lumberjacks to a winning record in his first season and was named the Big Sky's coach of the year the next season, in 1999.

"I've been blessed with so many fond memories on and off the field," Souers said. "It's been a heck of a ride, no better way than to finish it on the right note."

Souers previously spent 12 years at Montana, the final eight as defensive coordinator. The Grizzlies won a national title in 1995 and were national runner-up the following year.

Souers also coached at Western Washington and Portland State.