Rams sophomore wide receiver/ kick returner Dion Morton found out about the hiring of new CSU football coach Steve Fairchild the same way many Ram fans did.
“I just got it from the bottom line on (ESPN),” Morton said Wednesday. “If you see it on Sports Center, you’re pretty sure it’s true… I was pretty excited.”
Morton said the announcement was very relieving after receiving no updates from the athletic department about the hiring process.
Morton also said that Fairchild, who is currently the offensive coordinator for the NFL’s Buffalo Bills, was Morton’s first choice after reading about possible candidates in a newspaper.
“I wanted him first because he used to go (and play) at CSU,” he said. “I’m kind of a guy that likes family and foundation.”
As Rams defensive back Mike Pagnotta put it, “this was the best-case scenario for us.’
Rams defensive back Klint Kubiak, who first heard the news from his father and Houston Texas coach, Gary Kubiak, was also aware of the possibility of CSU hiring Fairchild before it became official.
“I had heard rumors and I had looked him up,” Klint Kubiak said. “I was hoping he would be hired. Some guys knew about him or heard about him and knew he was a good coach. I am excited and a lot of guys are excited to get him.”
Fairchild, who said he immediately accepted athletic director Paul Kowalczyk’s job offer on Monday, will not join the Rams until after Buffalo’s season.
“I am in the process of tracking down some (Ram) players,” Fairchild said.
Morton said he looks forward to meeting with his new coach this spring and that he’s “anxious to see which assistant coaches (Fairchild) brings.”
Two of those assistants have already been hired. Former CSU assistant coach Larry Kerr will again be the defensive coordinator and Marc Lubick, who served as the team’s wide receivers coach the past few seasons, will remain in some capacity, most likely on the offensive side of the ball.
Some CSU defensive players are already looking forward to working with coach Kerr, who will be in town next week.
“He is another guy people were talking about as maybe a head coach,” Kubiak said. “I know he is a good coach and I was hoping he would come here also. It will be nice, since he runs the Tampa Two (a cover-2 defense strategy), so I won’t be having to learn a whole new defense.”
Rams defensive end Tommie Hill said in the end, hiring new coaches is about one thing.
“It is definitely a plus that (Kerr) has coached some great players, but the big thing for us is winning,” he said.
When Fairchild does return to Fort Collins, it will be the first time since the beginning of the decade, when he was an assistant under Sonny Lubick and the Rams were frequently winning conference championships.
“Hopefully we play it like the past,” Morton said.