As far as anyone knows, CSU has no president lined up to take over our school. My vote goes to Jeff Hathaway.
The announcement the athletic director made Thursday was coming in due time, and it was the best decision this school could make. No single person has done more for the image of CSU than Sonny Lubick.
So when Hathaway made it official that the head football coach will be around for at least five more years, not a single person was surprised. Well, except for Lubick himself.
He was shocked at how many people showed up to the news conference, at the fact that Hathaway took the time to present the coach’s wife, Carol Jo, with flowers (which Lubick tried to take credit for), and a little surprised he is still here.
The coach who has led this program to five conference titles and six bowl games since 1994 didn’t think he’d last much longer than his first contract. No one else had success here, Lubick thought, why would he?
A couple extensions later and now in his 10th year at CSU, his success is unmatched. No Rams coach has led a team to four straight bowl games, which Lubick will do this year. No Rams coach has led a team to as many bowl games; CSU had only been to two (1949 Raisin Bowl, 1990 Freedom Bowl) until Lubick showed up. No Rams coach has posted as many 10-win seasons (three, and probably four after this year) as Lubick, and he could win a school-record 12 games this year.
And just about no coach in this country can do what Lubick has done with as little as Lubick has had.
Each year, recruits are turned down by schools like UCLA and Colorado. They end up here, many times by walking on, and Lubick forms a team that competes. The Rams easily could have beaten UCLA earlier this year after leading most of the game, and did beat CU for the third time in four years. The budgets those schools have compared to CSU’s is insane, and the alumni support for those schools pities CSU’s.
The only place the Rams can compete with schools like that is on the field. And that’s all Lubick’s doing.
Like the humble coach said at his press conference, “This is a happy marriage.” If for one minute Lubick were about the money, he’d be back in Miami or out at Southern California. He doesn’t want more money and CSU doesn’t have any.
Instead of asking for a big raise, which he deserves as much as Denver deserves a good basketball team, Lubick chose to stick with his current base salary. The only way he wants more money is if he deserves it, and that’s by winning games, making noise in the national scene and developing quality student-athletes.
So rather than Lubick’s salary rivaling that of whoever our new president may be, some extra money will probably find its way to his coaching staff. And Lubick would rather see it go there than in his own pocket. He knows he has done something special here, but refuses to take full credit for it.
“I’ve always had and still have a great coaching staff. I don’t give them enough credit where credit is due,” he said.
On Thursday, by making sure Lubick has a place here as long as he wants, Hathaway gave Lubick as much credit as CSU can.