As Northern Arizona University’s boys of fall prepare for their gridiron opener on Sept. 3, Lanae Blocker tackles the operational side of running a college football program.

Not only is Blocker a fourth-year philosophy, politics and law major with a minor in economics, she’s also the well-respected assistant director of football operations at NAU.

As one of only 10 females in football operations positions in the country, she has made a name for herself within college football and contributes greatly to the success of the NAU program.

“Lanae has been instrumental in completing many of the behind-the-scenes tasks that allow our coaches to focus on coaching and recruiting,” said Matt Howdeshell, NAU’s director of football operations. “This, in turn, has allowed our program to become more competitive and one of the most successful Big Sky Conference programs over the past four years. Her work ethic, dedication and motivation are unmatched by anyone at her age, and we are very fortunate to have her as a part of our staff.”

Day-to-day responsibilities for Blocker include helping with recruitment, performing administrative duties and charting plays. While much of what she has learned came from on-the-job training over the past four years, Blocker is no stranger to the game of football prior to attending NAU.

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Jump Forward officials honored DFO Clinic Scholarship recipients in May. From left to right: Jackson Boyd, Jodi Murphy, recipient Lanae Blocker, recipient Michael Conway, recipient Justin Riddle and Jordan Heighway.

“When I was growing up in southern California, I played quarterback for two years for my high school football team,” she said. “I’ve always loved the sport. While I haven’t been throwing touchdown passes at NAU, I have been involved in football in a different way and I’m grateful for the opportunity to earn an athletic scholarship based on my role as assistant director.”

In May, Blocker earned a clinic scholarship from Jump Forward, a conference sponsor who provided funds for three recipients to attend the 2016 Director of Football Operations Annual Spring Meeting and Clinic in Tampa, Fla.

“Getting the chance to learn from other operations directors from around the country was very beneficial for my current role and my future goal of becoming a director of football operations for a large university,” she said. “All of my NAU football experiences make me proud to have chosen the path I did and grateful to the incredible people who make up our football program.”