End of an Era

Nov 262007
Authors: Sean Victor Star

Sonny Lubick’s 15-year run as head coach of CSU football has come to an end, though his role in the program may not yet be over.

The CSU athletics department confirmed Monday that Lubick is no longer head football coach and that he is negotiating with athletic director Paul Kowalczyk about his future at CSU in a capacity outside coaching.

According to the release, Lubick, 70, has been offered a job as a senior associate athletics director, a position that would be “focused on fundraising and serving as a goodwill ambassador for Ram athletics.”

Lubick would be paid the remaining two years of his current salary, which is at least $500,000 each year, according to Lubick’s contract, and the Lubick family would receive health benefits under the offered the position.

The athletic department said Lubick and Kowalczyk will be available Tuesday afternoon for a press conference at the McGraw Athletic Center.

The future of Lubick’s staff remains uncertain, though earlier reports suggested this was one of the major sticking points in the ongoing negotiations.

Through the release, Kowalczyk “acknowledged discussing a number of issues with Lubick including how best to ease any transition for assistant coaches, health insurance issues for football program staff, and Lubick’s future role at CSU.”

CSU President Larry Penley expressed support for Lubick to remain at CSU in a statement made Monday.

“News reports this past weekend have focused on discussions . about the possibility of Lubick’s retiring as head coach,” Penley said in the statement. “The tenor of some of these stories has prompted me to make it clear to you that Coach Lubick will have a role at Colorado State University as long as he wants one.”

However, Penley did acknowledge there is disappointment with the current state of the football program.

“I am aware of the retirement discussions currently underway, which were not unexpected given the program’s record for the last four years,” Penley said. “CSU students, boosters, and alumni have communicated to both me and Paul Kowalczyk their growing frustration with the program’s performance.”

Lubick is credited with putting CSU on the college football map. Arriving in 1993, Lubick has gone 108-74 in 15 seasons, leading the Rams to six conference titles and nine bowl appearances.

Lubick is also one of only three Division I-A coaches with over 100 wins at their current institution, joining Penn State’s Joe Paterno and Florida State’s Bobby Bowden.

But in recent years, Lubick’s magic seemed to run thin. The Rams have posted a 17-30 record since 2004, including a 3-9 mark this season, putting the team in last in the Mountain West Conference standings.

Kowalczyk, who was hired as CSU athletic director in the spring of 2006, decided the losing trend will need to be stopped by a new coach, though he made it clear Lubick’s accomplishments will not be forgotten.

“We celebrate and honor the legacy Sonny has established with fond memories and cherished moments,” Kowalczyk said. “As athletic director, I am committed to building a winning program that serves our students and Colorado well, in the Lubick tradition.”

Football Beat Reporter Jeff Dillon and sports editor Sean Star can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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