NAU coach Souers gets new four-year contract

Jerome Souers has led the Lumberjacks to a winning record in 10 of his 16 seasons as coach.

Northern Arizona and football coach Jerome Souers have reached an agreement on a new contract through 2018.

NAU has not announced the agreement with Souers, who has led the Lumberjacks for the past 16 seasons, but Arizona Board of Regents documents show the board is expected to approve a four-year (plus one month) contract at a meeting this week.

The agreement will extend Souers’ contract through Jan. 31, 2018, covering the 2017 season, and increase his annual salary to $185,000. Souers made $180,000 in 2013, and his previous contract extension expired on Dec. 31, 2013.

Souers’ new contract contains numerous performance bonuses that could increase his total income. By leading NAU to 10 or more wins, Souers would receive $11,000. By beating an FBS opponent, Souers would receive a bonus of $5,000. Should NAU win the Big Sky Conference championship, Souers would receive $7,000.

The new contract also includes incentives for reaching the FCS playoffs. A first-round appearance would earn Souers $3,500, and the bonuses increase by $3,500 each round through the semifinals. An FCS national championship would net Souers a bonus of $20,000. Souers’ bonuses for athletic performance are capped at $57,000.

The contract also contains bonuses for coaching awards and the team’s academic performance.

Under the new contract, Souers can terminate the contract at any time but would have to pay NAU $50,000 in damages. Should he terminate the contract for reasons other than accepting another coaching job, he would not be required to pay the buyout.

NAU can also terminate the contract at any time. If done so without cause, the school would be required to pay Souers 50 percent of his base salary for three years if three or more years remain on the contract and two years if two years remain on the contract. If one year remained, the school would be required to pay Souers 100 percent of his base salary for one year.

NAU has achieved a winning record in 10 of Souers’ 16 seasons. Last season, the Lumberjacks went 9-3 to finish second in the Big Sky and make their first playoff appearance since 2003 but lost in the first round. NAU has made four total playoff appearances under Souers, including a quarterfinal appearance in 2003.

Souers owns a 93-88 record at NAU and is 17-6 over the past two seasons, including a win over FBS opponent UNLV in 2012. Souers was the Big Sky Coach of the Year in 1999.