Sonny Lubick is the king of Fort Collins. Unfortunately he was treated more like a peasant.
Ten days ago athletic director Paul Kowalczyk approached Sonny Lubick with the hope that the 15-year head coach was ready to retire.
The problem was, Lubick wasn’t ready to step down just yet.
A couple recent less-than-Sonny seasons hadn’t extinguished the fire burns deep within Lubick’s kind soul, the same flame that ignited the greatest thing ever to happen to Ram athletics.
“My hope was that we were on the same page with regards to where he was and where we were, and that was not the case,” Kowalczyk said of his discussions with the former coach at Lubick’s farewell press conference Tuesday.
“At that point, it was `OK, where do we go from here?’.”
Where they went from there was a disaster.
The Rams went on to beat rival Wyoming in the season finale later that week. After that game, Wyoming coach Joe Glenn shared with everyone that Lubick had coached his final game.
Instead of publicly admitting that Glenn was accurate and saving what was already a public relations nightmare, CSU chose to ignore the situation.
Fans were forced to learn about the end of the greatest era in CSU football through anonymous sources, speculation and rumors.
And when the athletic department finally did make a statement, it was confusing, misleading and only made matters worse.
But at the very least, Kowalczyk finally admitted to the mistake Tuesday.
“I have always worked to do the right thing and to do it well,” Kowalczyk said, “but I also regret the way that this has been portrayed and I apologize to the university community, to the alums and to Sonny and (his wife), Carol Jo.”
If one thing can be said about Kowalczyk, it’s that he’s got nerves of steel.
He had the nerve to force out Lubick, and he had the nerve to make a much-needed apology. But it’s too bad he didn’t have the patience to let Lubick leave on his own terms.
Above all, the end of Lubick’s time at CSU is a tragedy.
As Sonny’s son and former assistant coach, Marc Lubick said Tuesday, “It just sad to see him go.”