“Colorado State is better off because of him, will be worse off without him,” said Denver Post columnist Woody Paige concerning Sonny Lubick’s departure from the head coaching job here at CSU.
I couldn’t agree more.
There are very few coaches in college football who are as synonymous with their school as Sonny Lubick is with Colorado State. Two other coaches come to mind, Bobby Bowden from Florida State, who is completing his 31st season with the team, and the immortal Joe Paterno, who at age 80 now has 42 years at the helm of Penn State’s Nittany Lions.
Over the span of Sonny’s 15 years as our head coach, our team has only had four losing seasons. Regrettably, three of them have been during my five years here as a student. But that shouldn’t divert our attention from what Sonny has done for our university.
Many current CSU students don’t know the history of CSU football. Before Sonny came to Fort Collins, the Rams played postseason football twice in school history. With Lubick heading the team, we have been to nine bowl games. In 1994, Sports Illustrated named Lubick the Coach of the year.
Sonny brought this school from obscurity to a program with national attention. In 2000, our team finished the season ranked 14th in the nation.
After the Rams destroyed the Buffs 41-14 in 1999, the Rocky Mountain Showdown became a legitimate rivalry.
One of his former assistant coaches, Urban Meyer, is now the coach of the Florida Gators, who won the National Championship last year.
During his stint as our head coach, Sonny showed remarkable loyalty to CSU. Over the years, both the University of Miami and the University of Southern California, with two of the most prestigious football programs in the country, tried to steal Lubick from Fort Collins, yet Sonny remained faithful to his players and our university.
Too bad our athletic director Paul Kowalczyk doesn’t share that same pride.
For two years now I have personally changed my mind several times concerning Lubick’s future with the Rams. However, at the end of our awesome victory last Friday over Wyoming, it dawned on me – Sonny Lubick is all we have.
Next year our team will be without some of our best players, including the Mountain West’s most efficient passer Caleb Hanie, Johnny Walker, Damon Morton and Jesse Nading.
Sonny is the rock that has kept our team together over the years, and letting him leave the university will be a tremendous loss.
Look at our neighbors to the South. Since CU football’s legendary coach Bill McCartney left Boulder, the university has struggled to find a suitable replacement. I bet most CU football fans would do anything to have McCartney back.
I hope that we are not letting our own legend walk off into the sunset prematurely.
Tuesday night, Sonny Lubick gave his farewell address at a press conference and said “this episode over the last few days doesn’t change anything for me; I’ll be a Ram until the end of time. I’ll be watching.”
Unfortunately, Paul Kowalczyk didn’t treat Sonny with the respect he deserves. At the same press conference, Kowalczyk said that Sonny was told of his dismissal 11 days ago, before the border war victory last Friday. Is that the right way to treat a CSU legend?