NAU assistant, ex-QB Lewis dies at 39

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Northern Arizona assistant football coach Jeff Lewis, a former NAU quarterback who is member of the school’s Hall of Fame and also played in the NFL, died Saturday in Phoenix.

“Today is a very sad day for the Lumberjack football family,” said head coach Jerome Souers. “Jeff was one of the best Lumberjacks of all time and a valuable member of our program.”

The cause of death was not reported.

Lewis, 39, served on the NAU football staff during the 2012 season as the wide receivers coach.

“This loss is felt throughout NAU athletics, where Jeff’s impact as a player, a coach and an outstanding person will always be remembered,” said athletic director Lisa Campos. “We were deeply grateful for his return to the football program and wish our time together could have been longer. Our thoughts go out to his family at this difficult time.”

Lewis had a standout career as quarterback for the Lumberjacks from 1991-95 and was inducted into the NAU Hall of Fame in 2003. He played in the NFL for the Denver Broncos, Carolina Panthers and New Orleans Saints from 1996-2002 after being a fourth-round selection of the Broncos in the 1996 draft. He was part of two Super Bowl teams during his career, including the Broncos’ Super Bowl XXXII championship team. In his NFL career, he completed 28 of 54 passes for 210 yards and threw two interceptions.

“We are deeply saddened by the death of former Broncos quarterback Jeff Lewis. Our most heartfelt condolences and prayers go out to Jeff’s family and friends,” the Broncos said in a release.

Lewis finished his career at NAU ranked second on the school’s all-time lists for passing yards (9,639), touchdowns (67), completions (785), attempts (1,315) and completion percentage (59.6). He also holds the FCS/Division I-AA career record for interception avoidance with a figure of 1.82 interceptions per 100 passes. Lewis earned third-team All-America and second-team All-Big Sky honors as a junior in 1994.

Funeral services are pending.