In 1915: Northern Arizona University (then known as Northern Arizona Normal School) establishes a football program.
In 1961: NAU hires Max Spilsbury as its head football coach. Spilsbury would go on to coach the Lumberjacks for 14 seasons and is the winningest football coach in NAU history.
In 2001: The NAU football team wins the Big Sky Conference championship and participates in the NCAA Division I-AA (now FCS) playoffs.
In 2012: The NAU men’s basketball team wins the Big Sky Conference championship and participates in the NCAA Tournament.
In 2016, the Northern Arizona University (NAU) Lumberjacks football team won a share of the Big Sky Conference championship, finishing with a 7-1 record in conference play and an 8-3 record overall. The Lumberjacks were co-champions with the University of North Dakota and Eastern Washington University. The team was led by head coach Jerome Souers, who had been coaching the ...
History of the Lumberjacks
The Northern Arizona Lumberjacks have a long and storied history in NCAA sports. Founded in 1898, the school has been competing at the highest level of collegiate athletics for more than 120 years. Over that time, they’ve earned numerous championships and accolades while developing some of the best athletes to compete on an NCAA stage.
From football to basketball to track & field, Northern Arizona University (NAU) has had its share of success over its lengthy NCAA Division I program run. The most notable accomplishment came during their time as members of Division II when they won four consecutive national titles from 1978-81 under legendary head coach Jerry Dunn — three in football and one in men's basketball — making them one of only two schools ever to win both titles back-to-back (the other being Central Arkansas).
In addition to their championship pedigree, NAU is also home to several prominent athletes who went on become stars after college, including NFL Hall Of Famer Randall McDaniel; MLB All-Star Mark Grace; NBA champion Sean Elliott; Olympic gold medalist Bob Richards; U.S National Soccer Team standouts Brad Friedel and Tony Sanneh among many others!
While it’s true that NAU hasn't achieved quite the same level of success since moving up into Division I play almost 40 years ago now –– with no conference championships or major bowl appearances since then –– there are still plenty of reasons why fans should be proud: They've produced dozens upon dozens of talented players who have gone onto successful professional careers across all sports leagues around the world! On top of that, they continue to develop strong teams year after year despite limited resources available compared to more extensive programs like those founded Power 5 conferences, Pac 12, SEC Big 10, etc... So here's hoping we can recapture former glory days soon enough to make us all proud once again Go Jacks!!
College Sports Established
Northern Arizona University
1978 - Present / NCAA Division 1
1973 - 1977 / NCAA Division II
1969 - 1972 / NCAA College Division
1953 - 1968 / NAIA
1937 - 1952 / NCAA College Division
1970 – Present / Big Sky Conference
1963–1969 / Independent
1953 - 1962 / New Mexico Conference / Frontier Conference
1931 - 1952 / Border Conference
1915 - 1930 / Independent
Lumberjacks - The Northern Arizona Lumberjacks have been a part of the NCAA since 1931. But where did their nickname come from? It’s an exciting story that dates back to the 1920s when NAU was still known as Flagstaff Normal School.
At this time, many students were working in lumber camps during summer break, and they would return with stories about their experiences – including tales of hardworking “lumberjacks” who worked tirelessly in harsh conditions. These stories inspired some students to start calling themselves “Lumberjacks,” soon, it became a popular nickname for all school community members.
In 1924, student body president William Tompkins officially adopted "Lumberjack" as the official mascot for Flagstaff Normal School's athletic teams, and it eventually stuck! The name has remained ever since – even after becoming Northern Arizona University (NAU) in 1966 - making them one of only two Division I schools that use "Lumberjack" as its mascot (the other is Stephen F Austin).
Today, NAU's Lumberjack logo can be seen on everything from jerseys to hats - proudly representing not only NAU but also those brave lumberjacks who worked so hard long ago! So next time you watch your favorite team take on an opponent wearing blue & gold colors or sporting a fierce-looking axe logo, remember: That's no ordinary Jack…that's our very own Northern Arizona LUMBERJACKS!
Men's Basketball 0
Women's Basketball 0
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