Coach Lubick gave life to CSU football
Tears on the sideline – and more in the press conference – along with rumors from players and fellow Mountain West Conference coaches all point to the end of the Sonny Lubick era for Colorado State football.While there is no official word that the 15-year CSU head coach has retired or resigned, that is most likely the case, and, if it is, Saturday was a sad day for Ram fans and a sad day for football.If his days at the helm of the Rams are over, Lubick leaves with the second-best record in school history at 111-78. The No. 1 coach is Harry Hughes with 125 wins, but he needed 31 seasons to get that. Lubick got nearly as many in half the time. The four coaches before Lubick totaled 111 wins in 26 years, and piled up 166 loses. The 70-year-old legend guided CSU to nine bowl games when it had only been to two before his arrival in 1993.
Lubick put Rams football on the map and transformed Fort Collins into a football town. Those stats look good on the surface, but when you scratch a little deeper, you get to the good stuff. That’s where the character of his program shines. No scandals, no thugs, just players not only learning how to be better players on the field but better people in life. Lubick prided himself in having a program with responsible, honest, respectful, hard-working players. The combination not only garnered success but respect from coaches around the country. Even from some of the highest-regarded coaches, like Lubick’s former assistant Urban Meyer, who coached Florida to a national championship last year.”I would not be where I am at in my career if I didn’t have the chance to work with coach Lubick. He has been one of the most influential people in my professional development,” Meyer says in the CSU football media guide. “Coach Lubick taught me how players should be responsible for their actions through a very clear and simple set of rules and values.”
In college I was fortunate enough to talk and work with Lubick while working for CSU’s student paper. Every Monday, Lubick and a handful of local media would meet at C.B. and Potts in Fort Collins for a casual press conference. He would stand at the podium and joyfully answer our questions, tossing in his sweet nature and playful sense of humor. Then we would sit down with Lubick and his wife, Carol Jo, eat pizza and talk about everything from football to living in Fort Collins to all of the values Lubick instilled in his program.Not only was it something I looked forward to each week because a free lunch – that I scheduled my classes around – is huge to a poor college student, but it was a chance to hang out with one of the greatest coaches ever in a relaxed and comfortable atmosphere.CSU’s football program has forever changed because of the guidance of Lubick. The Rams play on a field named after him, and that’s the way it should stay forever.If Saturday was the last day for Lubick and CSU, at least he went out on a good note – winning the last two games, with one being the age-old Border War rival contest with Wyoming.
All I can say is that I am glad I am not CSU’s athletic director Paul Kowalczyk, because I wouldn’t want to have to hire the man who will replace the best coach in the 114-year history of Colorado State football.Contact Joelle Milholm: email@example.com
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