Sonny Lubick had spent the last 15 years fulfilling the daily duties of head football coach at CSU.
Last Saturday, one day after a victory over Wyoming and less than a week after Athletic Director Paul Kowalczyk informed him he was going to be fired, Lubick woke up with no duties to fulfill.
So, instead, he decided to help out with some household chores.
“I was home the last two days; I had nothing to do,” Lubick said during a press conference Tuesday. “I did the dishes three times. I hadn’t done that in 17 years.”
Lubick, the most successful football coach in the program’s history with a 108-74 record in 15 seasons, said he was surprised by Kowalczyk’s decision.
“I just figured we’d be out recruiting somewhere today,” Lubick said.
The firing is an abrupt ending to a storied career for the 70-year-old, who brought CSU football to a level it had never before seen, including six conference titles and a national ranking as high as 14th in 2000.
Kowalczyk said he had hoped Lubick was considering retirement before he asked him to step down, but Lubick was not.
“I think he still wanted to coach,” said Rams co-offensive coordinator Dave Lay. “That’s what makes it hard.”
Now the man who spent a decade-and-a-half building a football program in Fort Collins must find something new to direct his time and energy.
According to Associate Athletic Director Gary Ozzello, Lubick will take some time to decide whether he will accept a new position with the university as a fundraiser and program ambassador.
But Lubick seemed unsure if the position, written into his contract several years ago, would interest him, saying he would only want to do it “maybe on the other side of campus” to avoid stepping on the new coach’s toes.
“There’s no way as a coach, I wouldn’t want the former head coach hanging around,” Lubick said. “You guys know me. That’s the last thing I’d want to do.”
Lubick could look for a new coaching job elsewhere, something neither he nor his wife, Carol Jo, ruled out as a possibility.
“I would say it’s premature to say our dreams of coaching are over, but our 15 years here at CSU has been the best ride possible.”
Lubick admitted there were times — notably the day-long film-sessions on Sundays — when retirement had its appeal, but he feels he can still be successful on the sidelines.
“You never say never,” he said. “With me . I thought the players were listening to me and the coaches. When they stop listening, then it’s time to take a hike. But they were listening.”
Lubick said his immediate attention will turn to visiting his mother, who is in a nursing home, as well as other family members through the end of the year.
The former coach has also been making calls daily to try and secure jobs for his assistant coaches, who were dismissed as well.
In the meantime, Lubick is simply trying to adapt to the suddenly-new lifestyle, though he was glad to learn some things still hadn’t changed.
“I went to my coffee place at 7 a.m. and the coffee was still on the house,” he said. “I always fumble like I’m looking for change but they said, ‘Coach, this one’s on me.'”
Just another day in Lubick’s life in Fort Collins, a place he said has been a “perfect fit” for him and his family — one that would be difficult to leave behind.
“I walk downtown and people say, ‘Coach, coach, coach,'” an emotional Lubick said. “That’s good . that’s good.”
“Life is good.”
Sports writer Jeff Dillon can be reached at email@example.com.