FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. – Northern Arizona wide receivers coach Francis St. Paul has decided to leave his position to pursue new opportunities with his family.
"I was thankful and blessed to be able to coach where I played," said St. Paul. "I am going to miss the players because I felt I was one of the guys when I was out there coaching. I am going to miss working with the coaches. It is not work when you come in to work with these guys."
Francis St. Paul spent four seasons as the wide receivers coach and five overall on the Northern Arizona University staff. He joined the program as an offensive assistant prior to the 2007 season. A former player in the NFL, St. Paul also served as the pro liaison for the staff and coordinated the summer camps.
"Francis St. Paul has been an outstanding member of our coaching staff and will be missed by everyone in the entire NAU athletic department family," said Head Coach Jerome Souers. "As a member of our coaching staff, Francis brought passion, energy, expertise and more than anything, the willingness to go the extra mile to help those around him. As one of our coaches, Francis has been a blessing in my life. I witnessed his development as a student athlete while at NAU, enjoy an NFL opportunity, then grow into a successful husband and father. It brought me absolute joy to see Coach St. Paul make a difference in the lives he touched in his time with us. I have no doubt Francis St. Paul will be successful in whatever endeavor he seeks. We wish for him and his family all the best on their new journey."
During his career at NAU, he coached three of the top six single-season receiving leaders in school history, while the team has ranked among the top 30 in the nation in passing offense for four straight seasons, including fifth overall in the FCS in passing and total offense in 2009. His receivers helped the Lumberjacks post the top passing efficiency mark in the Big Sky and rank sixth overall in the nation in 2011.
St. Paul helped develop Khalil Paden in 2011 to a career season. He was an All-Big Sky honorable mention selection, leading the team with 61 receptions, 991 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. Overall, he ranked fifth in the Big Sky in receptions and receiving yards per game.
St. Paul finished his career among the all-time receivers in school history, ranking second in touchdowns (19), ninth in receptions (113) and 10th in receiving yards (1,617). He was a sixth-round pick of the St. Louis Rams in the 2001 NFL Draft, playing with the Rams on the active roster and practice squad over two seasons including Super Bowl XXXVI in New Orleans. He also had stints with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Carolina Panthers and Jacksonville Jaguars. He finished his professional career with the Ottawa Renegades in the Canadian Football League in 2004.
Head Coach Jerome Souers will look to fill the position prior to the start of spring practice.