The ripples of Sonny Lubick’s retirement announcement are reaching the shores of the recruiting front, as prospective CSU football players felt the uncertainty of change that Monday’s news brought.
Recruits Ben DeLine, a kicker from Steamboat Springs, and defensive end Ben Tedford, of Littleton’s Columbine High School, both said that the removal of Lubick has not changed their verbal commitments to come to CSU.
“Growing up, my dream was to play for Sonny Lubick,” DeLine said. “If that can’t happen it will still be a fulfillment to play for CSU.”
Tedford, who Lubick personally offered a full scholarship to play for the Rams next year, said that the 14-year coach’s commitment to his players was one of the reasons he chose to come to Fort Collins.
“He (Lubick) was just such a nice guy – concerned about family, not just football. I think they’ll get someone along those lines,” Tedford said of a possible replacement for Lubick. “I think it’s good to keep him involved, he’s such a good person and he’s one of the greatest coaches ever.”
DeLine agreed with his future teammate, saying that the university will make a wise decision when they hire a replacement for Lubick.
“To fill Sonny Lubick’s shoes, that will be tough. But I’m sure they’ll bring in a good coach.”
Tedford and DeLine have each made non-binding verbal commitments to come to CSU, and will have to wait until National Signing Day on the first Wednesday in February to officially sign with the Rams.
But other recruits are not so certain.
Levi Greenly, a defensive tackle from Kersey Colorado has made no such verbal commitment, and has been courted by both CSU and Wyoming for his services next year.
“I’d love to play for (Lubick),” Greenly said. “But if his whole staff leaves with him it will make it a hard decision.”
Greenly said that if Lubick were to stay in contact with the program, even in an administrative capacity, it would make him more likely to want to come to CSU.
“He’s probably still going to be in the program, so that would make me want to stay,” Greenly said. “(If not) it would change a little bit. The other schools that have been recruiting me would probably move up my list.”
As for current players who will be returning next year, the announcement means a potential shift in coaching styles and philosophy, something that could be difficult to adjust to midway through a playing career.
Junior running back Kyle Bell said that news of Lubick’s stepping down wasn’t a shock, but that he hopes Athletic Director Paul Kowalczyk treated the storied coach with the respect he earned in his tenure.
“I hope for him personally that it is him leaving on his own terms,” Bell said. “There have been a lot of rumors of him being forced out, but I don’t know anything about that.”
Bell went on to talk about the character of Lubick, a quality that will be missed by next year’s freshman, not to mention the rest of the program.
“Every guy on the team and everyone who has ever played for him has the utmost respect for him,” Bell said. “With the way that he treats his players, I hope that was the way that he was treated.”
Football Beat Reporter Nick Hubel can be reached firstname.lastname@example.org.