Mixed feelings filled the CSU community Monday after rumors circulated about Sonny Lubick’s possible retirement as head football coach, news that was finally made official by the athletic department in the afternoon.
Students and staff alike bemoaned the prospect of Lubick’s retirement, but some say that it’s his time to go after an illustrious 15-year tenure in Fort Collins.
“It’s the saddest thing ever,” said Kim Arnett, a CSU alumnus who said she went to high school with Lubick’s son and assistant coach, Marc Lubick.
“He built the team. He built the program,” Arnett said, who said she has a close relationship with Sonny Lubick. “He made the CSU athletic department. He’s brought more money here than anyone — they named the freakin’ field after him.”
From 1993 to 2002, Lubick led the Rams’ most successful period in the team’s 114-season history. After a decade and a half under his leadership, the team went 108-74. CSU honored Lubick by naming the field at Hughes Stadium after him.
Lubick appears to have two options– move into the position the university has offered him as senior associate athletic director or retire, according to a university announcement released Monday.
While Arnett doesn’t want to see him go, she knows that it might just be his time. She said she would be happy to see Lubick take the university’s administrative position offer and stick around Fort Collins.
“I think that would be good because he’s (70),” she said. He should retire in this community.”
Some students at CSU said Lubick’s options are all positive and that they just want to see him do what is best for him and his family.
Michael Broekstra, a junior landscape design major from Fort Collins, said that while he doesn’t want to see Lubick retire, he would understand the rationale behind that move after such a high profile career.
“If I was him, f*** yeah, I’d be tired,” Broekstra said. “He’s (70) years old.”
Lubick revolutionized CSU’s football program, leading the team to six conference titles, nine bowl games, while coaching five All-Americans, seven academic All-Americans and six conference players of the year since 1993.
But over the last four years, the Rams’ 10-season luster as one of most consistently successful college football teams in the nation has dulled. Since the start of the 2003 season, CSU has gone 24-36 and lost both its bowl games.
However, with the Rams growing progressively worse the past two years, with at one time a 13-game losing streak, most of Lubick’s supporters have stayed faithful, saying they are behind him no matter what.
CSU president Larry Penley echoed those sentiments Monday in a statement sent to the CSU community.
“Sonny, Carol Jo, and their family have been outstanding ambassadors for
Colorado State and Rams athletics for (15) years, and all of us at CSU respect and appreciate that,” Penley said. “It is my clear expectation that this University will do right by Sonny Lubick in any negotiations about his future with the institution.”
But one student said if Lubick continues his tenure as coach, something needs to change to end the Rams’ streak of bad luck.
“He’s done a lot for the program lately,” said Craig Dumas, a senior finance major from Germany. “(But) I don’t know what happened this year. . Definitely a lot of respect if he stays on or not, but if he does, he needs to get the team back in order.”
Assistant News Editor Aaron Hedge can be reached at email@example.com.